FOOTBALL fans will be treated to one of the biggest rivalries on the local soccer scene when Matlama and Lioli go head-to-head in an Econet Premier League clash at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday.
The clash between Tse Putsoa and Tse Nala will be preceded by the game between rejuvenated Likhopo against Bantu earlier in the day.
Second placed Matlama will be hoping to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to fellow title contenders LCS in their last league match late last year.
Tse Nala will also be looking to put a difficult 2018 behind them as they find themselves in an unfamiliar seventh position on the log.
Matlama coach Thabile Secker said his side has to start the New Year on a high note if they are to remain in contention for the title.
He said his side has not had much of a break since losing to LCS in their last league match and will be desperate to walk away with the three points when they meet their old rivals Lioli.
“We need the three points to stay in the race for the league title and we must do all it takes to get them,” Secker said.
“It was painful losing to LCS before the Christmas break and we must now show character by bouncing back against Lioli.
“We have not had much of a break and have been at work through the festive holidays because we have goals achieve this season.
“We have to bounce back to motivate our supporters to continue supporting us through the rest of the season.”
The Tse Putsoa mentor said he will be keen to add a few new faces to his squad especially in the striking department to boost their chances of ending a six-year league title drought.
However, Secker admitted that it’s never easy to get players in the January transfer window which opened yesterday and closes on the 31st of this month.
“It’s never easy to sign players in this transfer window but we could do with one or two players especially in the striking department.
“We also have players who are already in our system but couldn’t register due to some missing documents and we have a chance to do that now,” he said.
Lioli captain Mafa Moremoholo said that it’s important for his side to bounce back from a difficult 2018 heading to their match with Tse Putsoa on Saturday.
Tse Nala have struggled in the league in the 2018/19 season despite winning the Independence Cup in October and have so far managed five victories from the 12 matches played so far.
“For me this is the most important game of our season so far because getting positive results here will go a long way in improving our campaign.
“We have not done well in the current season and we have to do things differently in the remaining games.
“We need the results to turn our fortunes around and make our supporters happy again,” Moremoholo said.
Moremoholo also said taking a breather from football during the Christmas break could also help his side as is players needed “to recharge their batteries”.
“I think being away from football could also prove important because I feel as players, we needed to forget about football a bit and comeback refreshed.
“Things did not go well for us in the first part of the season and maybe our fortunes will change for the better now,” Moremoholo said.
Elsewhere on Saturday, high flying Kick4Life will welcome Galaxy at LCS Ground as they aim to continue with their five-match winning streak that has taken them to fourth place on the league standings.
Econet Premier League fixture
Likhopo v Bantu
Matlama v Lioli
Kick4Life v Galaxy