….as Lioli hitman breaks leg in crunch match against Matlama
Lioli striker, Tšepo Lekhooana, broke his leg during Sunday’s premiership thriller against Matlama—effectively ending the hitman’s season in which he was Tse Nala’s top scorer with eight goals.
The national team forward suffered the debilitating injury after colliding with Matlama goalkeeper Makhetha Thakeli, in the highly entertaining match which ended 1-1.
Lekhooana was fourth on the premier league scoring charts behind Matlama’s Phafa Tšosane,Thabo Seakhoa of LCS and Litšepe Marabe of Bantu on nine, ten and 16 goals, respectively.
According to Lioli spokesperson, Moeketsi Pitso, the absence of the free-scoring striker would be a big blow to the team’s quest for the 2014/15 league title.
Lioli currently lead the 14-team Vodacom Premier League table with 49 points, respectively followed by Bantu, LDF, LCS and Matlama on 44, 41, 39 and 33.
With six matches to play before the league programme comes to a close, Lioli had been banking on Lekhooana’s goals to land them domestic football’s biggest prize, but the injury means he would not take part in the championship run-in.
“It’s a huge setback to the team and the player himself, as he was enjoying a good run of form. He scored in three successive matches before we played Matlama, so we are deeply disappointed with this injury,” Pitso on Monday told the Lesotho Times.
“He was first admitted at LDF Hospital at Makoanyane Barracks before being transferred to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital, where he is still detained.”
Pitso further said Lekhooana’s absence compounded Lioli’s striking woes following Tšepo Seturumane’s departure for police training early this year.
“Lekhooana’s injury could not have come at a worse time for us as we fight to retain the league title we surrendered to Bantu last season,” said Pitso.
“The other bad thing about this is our other top striker, Tšepo Seturumane, has since left for police training, which means we are now short of personnel in this crucial department.
“However, despite these setbacks, our team remains very strong, and we believe we have enough quality to win the championship.”
Meanwhile, Lioli would not be in action this weekend after being booted out of the LNIG Top8 tournament at the quarterfinal stage by LCS.
The early exit means Matlama, LCS, Bantu and Likhopo would battle-it-out in the tournament whose semis and final take place at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
“Of course, as one of the big teams in this country, we are disappointed that we will not be able to defend our Top8 title. However, life goes on and our focus is now on winning the league title,” Pitso said.
Tse Nala’s remaining six league matches are against LDF, Mphatlalatsane, Linare, Likhopo, Kick4Life and Bantu, and Pitso believes Lioli would get enough points to lift the league title.