All roads lead to Setsoto  

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…as Matlama face bitter enemies Lioli

Mikia Kalati

Matlama have vowed to thrash Lioli when the two bitter enemies clash in a potentially volatile premier league match set for Saturday at Setsoto Stadium.

Tse Putsoa lead the 14-team league with 23 points, while Lioli are second on 21 points. Both giants have played 10 league matches so far this season and together with Bantu, command the biggest support base in the Vodacom Premier League.

Yet it is the longstanding rivalry between Matlama and Lioli which makes matches between the two sides such a passionate affair.

“It’s going to be a very tough match and we were back in training yesterday,  Monday, instead of our normal Tuesday, to prepare for this match. That, in itself, tells you how serious we are taking this match against Lioli,” Matlama coach Moses Maliehe told the Lesotho Times.

“Games against Lioli are never easy, but we are going to be very prepared when we face them on Saturday.”

The two teams met in the semifinal of the Independence Cup last month, with Tse Nala winning the match 2-1, thanks to goals by Junior Maba and Mafa Moremoholo.

However, Maliehe said it would be a different ball-game altogether come Saturday as his charges had taken their game to another level since that defeat.

“We are not yet at the level we would want to be, but I am happy with the team’s progress as we are now top of the table,” said Maliehe.

“I know Lioli have more experienced players and a bigger squad than us, but we have been grinding out results even under those circumstances.”

Matlama will be without their top goal-scorer Jane Thabantšo who is suspended and Maliehe has also bemoaned the absence of the experienced duo of Pali Tšalong and Mabuti Potloane.

On the other hand, Lioli coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, is a happy man after his side returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Rovers last weekend.

Tse Nala had failed to win in three consecutive league matches before beating the university side last Saturday.

“That win against Rovers was a massive boost to the players’ confidence. The boys had become very demotivated since losing the Independence Cup to Bantu last month,” Mokhothu said.

“I am now seeing the happy faces I had become used to in training, which tells me we are getting back to our best once again.

“It is good we have put the bad spell behind us and we will be going for all the three points when we face Matlama on Saturday.”

Mokhothu also spoke of the rivalry that makes Lioli/Matlama matches such classics.

“These are matches where form does not matter. All we have to do is prepare very well because Matlama are a good side with a very passionate support base, but the same applies to Lioli, which makes matches between the two sides so special.

“But having said that, we want the three points as much as they do,” Mokhothu said.

In other league matches set for Saturday, Liphakoe host LCS in Quthing, Linare host Likila United in Hlotse, and LMPS welcome LDF at PTC.

On Sunday, Kick4Life host Bantu, Sundawana are at home against Mphatlalatsane and Likhopo entertain Rovers at LCS Ground.

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