Lioli on Saturday beat Likhopo 3-0 to clinch the premier league title with a game to spare after their closest rivals, Bantu, were held to a one-all draw by Mphatlalatsane in Mafeteng.
Well, I had said it from the start in my prediction for the season that Tse Nala were favourites for the championship.
This was all because they had the best squad from which coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu could pick a team capable of getting the required result even if there were injuries to key players.
At one stage, Tse Nala had nine players in the national team taking part in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which was further proof of the team’s quality.
Apart from having the best players in the premiership, the team had a healthy mix of youth and experience.
I also feel Tse Nala had the best fitness-trainer in the country in Ntsie Mapetla, with the players’ ability to perform consistently playing a big part in the title-win.
Credit should also go to the technical team, especially head-coach Mokhothu, who is a true gentleman of the game.
Mokhothu has won four league titles now as head-coach—twice with Lioli and two more with LCS.
Mokhothu is one of those respectful coaches always calm and available to the media and I salute him for his humility.
Despite losing Tšepo Seturumane and Basia Makepe, who went for police training, Tse Nala never lost their cool and continued to work hard and were deserving winners of the league title.
The majority of Lioli players came to the party this season and Tse Nala’s success was largely due to unity of purpose.
Yet I feel Jerry Kamele and Tšoanelo Koetle were a bit ahead in terms of consistency and leadership when it mattered most.
I was also impressed by young fullback, Bokang Sello, who had a special season for a player who is still new to topflight football.
He is among the best young players in this country and I have no doubt that he has a lot to offer going forward.
Kopano Tseka also deserves praise as he finally settled at Lioli since joining the team about two seasons ago.
The lanky defender was played in an unfamiliar right-back position, and not his favoured central defence. Tseka was a different player in his new role, and reminded me of the courageous defender he was when playing for the national under-20 team which qualified for the 2011 African Youth Championship.
While losing the title to Lioli is a bitter pill to swallow for Bantu supporters, I think A Matšo Matebele also deserve credit for taking the race to the very end.
Like I said when the season started, the Bantu squad lacked depth and was only improved in the second round following the arrival of players such as Nzenze Nkulu, Katleho Moleko and others.
Bantu coach, Motlatsi Shale, had also talked about lack of depth in his team and I feel in the end, it was one of the reasons they couldn’t retain the title and ended the season as runners-up.
Still, I believe there are many reasons for Bantu supporters to be proud of their team as they won the LNIG Top8 competition, in addition to giving Lioli a real tough fight in the league championship battle.
Litšepe Marabe is another reason the team should celebrate as the talented striker has scored a whopping 23 goals so far, and is certainly going to walk away the top goal-scorer award.
Lesotho had not seen a player score so many goals for many years, with the award-winners usually getting 15 or less.
Another player who impressed is young midfielder, Hlompho‘Stiga’ Kalake, who has shown so much maturity this season.
I’m not surprised that he earned a late call into the Likuena team preparing for the Cosafa tournament set for South Africa next month.
Meanwhile, I also wish to congratulate and welcome Liphakoe and Rovers, who have been promoted to the premier league after winning their respective A Division streams.
Both teams have a rich history in our football and it will be good to see them playing in the premier league once again.