Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) football teams renew their rivalry when they lock horns in the Vodacom Premier League match scheduled for Ratjomose Barracks Ground on Saturday.
The two teams have accumulated a total of 14 league titles since 1972, with LCS clinching six and LDF eight of the championships.
Only Matlama have won the league title more than LDF, with nine championships under their belt.
However, LCS coach Mpitsa Marai on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times he expects a tough battle against an LDF side that has not won the league title since the 2003/4 season. Masheshena, on the other hand, last won the championship in 2011/12, and Marai is hoping his charges can roll back the time to those glory days this campaign.
Marai, who took over the coaching reins at the start of the current season, has since led LCS to two wins, one draw and one loss.
“LDF are not that different from LMPS whom we beat 1-0 last weekend, so I expect them to be equally tough opponents. However, we will be ready to go to battle with them,” Marai said.
“We started the season with a loss and a draw before winning the next two matches, which shows the team is improving with each week.”
However, despite the wins over Linare and LMPS, Marai says his players need to improve their scoring as they are wasting many clear chances.
“I think we can do better in the last third of the field, but we are work-in-progress and working hard to address the team’s weaknesses.
“I am happy we won the last two matches, but must admit there is still a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.
Marai also told the Lesotho Times his team has been hit by injuries to key players since the season started last month.
“We have struggled to have all our players available for matches. For instance, our top goal-scorer from last season, Thabo Seakhoa, is struggling to be fit and has only played one game so far this campaign,” said Marai.
“However, the good thing is we have a big squad and will rotate players to make sure all of them are fresh and hungry.”
On the other hand, new LDF coach Motheo ‘Six to Six’ Mohapi, has only managed draws in the four matches he has been in charge of the army side, but believes his long-awaited win would come against LCS.
“I’m still settling in the team, but this coming match is a must-win for us following our four draws,” said Mohapi.
“We are working so hard to be a better side, and the signs are there that the team is going to compete this season.
“The only sad part is we failed to register all our players as some of them were away due to work-commitments. But like I said, I am confident of getting maximum points against LCS.”
Meanwhile, Matlama would be hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s surprise 1-3 loss to Linare when they host LMPS at LCS Ground on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the rejuvenated Bantu, who have won their last two matches after opening the season with a loss followed by a draw, travel to Quthing for a date with winless Liphakoe.
Again on Saturday, Kick4Life take on Sundawana at Old Europa. Motlalepula Mofolo’s Kick4Life have failed to register another win since stunning LCS 1-0 in their opening match of the season.
Sundawana, on the other hand, are second from bottom and also among teams searching for their first win of the 2015/16 season.
On Sunday, defending league champions Lioli travel to Butha-Buthe for a date with struggling Likila United; in-form Likhopo visit St Monica’s to play Mphatlalatsane, while Rovers host Linare in Roma.
Full fixtures at a glance
Saturday: LDF v LCS, Liphakoe v Bantu, Kick4Life v Sundawana, Matlama v LMPS.
Sunday: Mphatlalatsane v Likhopo, Likila v Lioli, Rovers v Linare.