THE new Econet Premier League season is off to an exciting start and has already produced thrilling experiences.
The defending champions, Bantu, bagged their first win of the season last weekend with an emphatic 3-0 victory over LDF.
The Mafeteng outfit were frustrated by Sefotha-fotha in their opening match and rescued a point with a late equaliser while they lost to bitter rivals, Lioli, in their second match.
Of course, it’s still early days but for me this shows that the league is more competitive this season and A Matšo Matebele will have to work hard to defend their title.
Tse Nala also got off to a difficult start losing 2-1 to Kick4Life in their first match but have since bounced back with two victories against Bantu and Sefotha-fotha.
This was Kick4Life’s first league win over Lioli and it speaks volumes in terms of the competition to anticipate this season. The win is also a major boost for Bob Mafoso given it was his first game in charge.
Matlama also got off to a flying start handing Linare a 4-0 drubbing but Tse Putsoa failed to maintain the standards and were held to a goalless draw by Sefotha-fotha in their second match on Saturday.
We all expected Matlama to have it easy against Sefotha-fotha based on the previous game but it was not to be.
This is proof that the so-called small clubs in the league have covered a lot of ground in preparing for the new season.
However, Tse Putsoa returned to winning ways and beat Likhopo 3-0 at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
The country’s most decorated side are at the summit of the table after three games with seven points.
The likes of LCS, LMPS and Kick4Life have also enjoyed decent starts to the new season and will, by the look of things, give Bantu and Lioli a run for their money in the race for the league title.
All the three teams are still unbeaten after three matches.
The other team that has surprised me this far is Swallows, which held LCS 1-1 in their opening match and also stunned Liphakoe with a 1-0 victory in their second match although they lost 3-2 to Linare in the last match.
The team has just returned to top flight football after several years in the lower division and was modesty in its acquisition of new players as they did not secure any big names.
The Mazenod outfit kept its youthful squad which secured the return to top flight football but the lads have looked extremely competitive so far.
However, it has not been the same for newcomers Galaxy. The Tšepo Nteso owned side has lost all its opening three games and I concede that it was always going to be difficult for them starting the new season with fixtures against LMPS and LCS.
They will surely have to improve after suffering their third defeat away to Liphakoe over the weekend.
At the bottom of the table, Likhopo have also suffered three defeats against Liphakoe, Linare and Matlama.
The journey has so far not looked easy for the Red Army, which survived relegation out of sheer luck in the last two seasons but I must say, I was impressed by the youthful Halemakale Mahlaha’s side display against Matlama on Sunday despite losing 3-0.
They are comfortable on the ball and looked fearless in the opening exchanges of the game but lack of experience worked against them in the latter as Tse Putsoa secured a comfortable victory.
There is no doubt that Likhopo need to improve from their poor start if they are to avoid needing luck again this season.
But it’s been a very exciting season so far and I hope it stays this way throughout the campaign.
It would be nice that for a change we don’t have the now usual two-horse race for the league championship and that will mean that the likes of LCS, LMPS, Kick4Life and Matlama must maintain their respective early form to give Bantu and Lioli a run for their money.