ALL roads lead to Setsoto Stadium this Saturday for the long-awaited Independence Top4 Cup where the premier league’s top guns will be vying for the coveted M200 000 prize.
The football fiesta starts with a match between former premier league players clashing with sports journalists. The tie will be followed by a clash between Matlama and LDF in the first final.
The second semifinal features 2017 Econet Premier League champions, Bantu vs LCS. The final and the third-place playoff will be played at the same venue on Sunday.
Normally played in October, the four-team tournament was delayed this year after one of the major sponsors, Metropolitan Lesotho withdrew last year leaving Standard Lesotho Bank as the sole sponsors.
The Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) was forced to postpone the tournament after failing to secure new sponsors as had been demanded by Standard Lesotho Bank that they get co-sponsors on board. They eventually managed to get Super Hardware, Econet Telecom Lesotho, Maluti Mountain Cement and Builders City on board while Metropolitan also returned to the mix.
Holders Lioli will not get a chance to defend their title this year after they finished seventh in the league last season. The Top4 tournament is played by the top four teams.
The tournament comes on the back of upsets for LDF who lost 0-2 to Matlama and LCS who also succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the hands of league leaders Bantu. More than anything else, it is most likely that the two sides will be hoping for a chance to exact revenge.
And LCS coach Mpitsa Marai says they will be out for nothing short of revenge as they are craving to end their drought for silverware.
“This will be a different game altogether,” Marai said.
“After the weekend loss, we went to the drawing board, analysed what we did wrong and fixed our mistakes. We have also tried to build on what we did right. This a cup game so we will be ready because we want revenge.
“In the last game we had our moments and if we had taken them, then the result could have been different.”
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Marai said he would also fancy winning his debut Top4 tournament. The best he has done so far is a second-place finish.
LCS have been missing of key players Makara Ntaitsane and Setho Moshoeshoe due to injuries and Marai said he is hopeful that the duo would be ready to play by Saturday.
“We hope they will be fit. Our aim is to win the tournament and we will have to start by winning our Saturday match against Bantu.”
Bantu assistant coach Teboho Tšiu said they are expecting a tough encounter.
“This is going to be a different game altogether and past results do not carry much weight especially because this is a cup game. It’s not going to be easy because LCS are strong opponents so they will not be walk overs. However, we will try to do the job.
“The weekend win puts us under pressure but that is what we have been working on trying to ensure that the players are in the right frame of mind. We have a team of experienced players who know what is expected of them and they will deliver,” Tšiu said.
The first runners-up will pocket M100 000 while the third placed team will take home M70 000. The fourth placed side will get a M40 000 consolation.
Tournament individual prizes
Top goal scorer – M6 000
Man of the match – M3 000 per match
Player of the tournament – M8 000
Goalkeeper of the tournament – M6 000
Referee of the tournament – M4 000
Assistant referees of the tournament – M2 000 each