LCS’ title ambitions will be tested tomorrow as Mpitsa Marai’s title-chasing side goes head-to-head with Lioli at LCS Ground.
Masheshena, as LCS is affectionately known, is second and trail leaders Matlama by five points but have also played a game more than Tse Putsoa.
Lioli, on the other hand, has had a difficult season and is only playing to finish the campaign among the top four teams in the league to stand a chance of defending their Independence Cup trophy next season.
Veteran LCS goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile said Matlama can still slip-up in their remaining games and that will give them a chance to close the five points’ gap between the two teams.
“Our game against Lioli is very important because are still in the race for the title and we do not know if leaders Matlama will win all their matches,” Ketsekile said.
“Most of their remaining games are against clubs that can be difficult and tricky to beat. So, every game is like a final starting with the one against Lioli on Friday (tomorrow).
“Anything can still happen to boost our ambitions to be the champions.”
Ketsekile, who has once again reiterated his wish to hang his gloves at the end of the season, said it would be good for him to call it a day after winning the championship having enjoyed a long career.
“It would be good feeling to retire after winning the championship. It’s always good to end it while you are at the top of your game. I think that will also inspire younger players to work hard and know that one earns success through hard work in football.
“I’m still playing because of my coaches. I have already done goalkeeper coaching courses and that means that I can now help in that department but I’m ready to call it a day.
“I will hear what they (management) will say when we talk about it at the end of the season but I’m ready to move to the next chapter of my career,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lioli captain Mafa Moremoholo conceded that Tse Nala needs the points against LCS to boost their chances of finishing the campaign among the top four teams.
“It is important to win the match so that we can secure a place within the top four. That’s our biggest focus at the moment.
“I think it will be a big shame if we fail to qualify for the top four especially considering the fact that we are the defending champions of the Independence Cup which will be contested for by teams that end the season in the top four,” Moremoholo said.
Regarding the difficult that Tse Nala has gone through this campaign, Moremoholo said his side is still work in progress and it was always going to be difficult for them to compete for the league despite winning the Independence Cup early in the season.
“Cup competitions are different from league matches because it’s a short route to get to the final and you can win it easily when the team is in form.
“However, the league is a marathon and you need a lot more to win it. You need a lot of time to prepare for it.
“In football, it takes time to rebuild a team especially when you have new players like our side. Some of them need a lot of time to adapt while others take a shorter time.
“That process takes time and for the team to be at its best and it could take as long as two seasons. I think we are making good progress and Lioli will next season be back among the top teams contesting for the league title.
“I think you can learn from the struggles that the other big teams went through when they were rebuilding. The likes of Matlama, Bantu and LCS took a long time to get to where they are now.
“They went for a long time without trophies, so rebuilding a team is not an easy process and takes time,” he said.
Elsewhere on Friday, third placed Bantu will be away to second from bottom Majantja as James Madidilane’s side hopes to edge closer to the summit of the log.
A Matšo Matebele are third and trail leaders Matlama by eight points while LCS are just three points ahead of them.
LMPS will be at home against LDF as Teele Ntšonyane looks to register three wins in a row for the first time since taking over the reins at the club in January this year.
Matlama will only be in action on Monday when they also host struggling Majantja at Setsoto Stadium.
Econet Premier League fixture
LCS v Lioli
Majantja v Bantu
LMPS v LDF
Linare v Kick4Life
Likhopo v Galaxy
Swallows v Sefotha-fotha
Matlama v Majantja
Liphakoe v Bantu