…as big guns square in M100 000 LNIG final
ALL roads lead to Setsoto Stadium this weekend where four of Lesotho’s soccer giants will battle it out for the LNIG Top8 title.
The semi-finals and final will be played on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Lioli take on Matlama in the first match while Bantu face LCS later on Saturday.
A Matšo Matebele head into the clash with LCS on the back of two unpleasant weeks where the club lost a case and the appeal in as they fought against their conviction in a player registration scandal.
The club was docked three points after they were found guilty of flouting foreign player registration laws which only allow the registration of a maximum of five foreigners. Bantu were found to have registered nine.
The club’s coach, James Madidilane, admitted that they have endured a tough time after Itumeleng Falene, Thabo Sedisa, Pheko Molaoa and Phumoha Matsipa were found to have been fraudulently registered.
“Our camp is unstable after we lost players, but we are trying our best to salvage the situation,” Madidilane said.
“There is nothing we can do. Life must go on.”
The Bantu mentor who led the club to two titles since his arrival in Lesotho, said they would soldier on with the available players despite the set-back.
“I still believe that we can still make it, although LCS are our bogey side. I think they watched our game on Monday so they have planned in an informed way.
“It’s the same thing with us. I still believe that with the available players we can still make it to the final but it’s not an easy task as LCS have the same target,” he said.
LCS on the other hand have been on song in recent weeks having eliminated LDF with a 6-1 aggregate score in the quarterfinals before dismissing Linare 4-0 in the league last weekend.
However, coach, Mpitsa Marai, said although the team has inconsistency worries, he has recovered some of his previously injured players.
“We watched them on Monday and we know the game is not going to be easy,” Marai said.
“I think the good thing is that we have a clean bill of health except Leboneng Moqecho who has not fully recovered. The rest of the players that recently came back from injuries have made good progress.”
Marai said this was also a chance to prove their worth in the tournament having come close in recent years only to lose in the finals.
“Without putting our players under pressure, I think they also see it that this is a great chance for them to get silverware,” he said.
“When I talk to them, I can see that it is also their ambition to win the trophy so we have to go there with our minds in right state to fight for the trophy.”
Matlama star midfielder, Mabuti Potloane, said his side is aware of the responsibility to end the long trophy drought for.
“We know that Matlama is a big team that should be winning trophies. It is our goal to win this cup having come this far and it will be one game at the time,” Potloane said.
“Lioli is also a good side, but looking at the quality in our team, I think we have a good chance to get to the final. Once we are in the final, we have to come with a plan to win it, but we are motivated and looking forward to it.”
Lioli captain, Mafa Moremoholo, said the motivation for Tse Nala was to win their first trophy as they still have nothing to show for this campaign.
“If you look at our performance in the recent games, you will realise that we have played well. The results have been good and the team has scored goals which gives us hope. The motivation is also to get a trophy as we have nothing to show at this stage compared to the previous season,” Moremoholo said.
The competition is sponsored to the tune of M800 000 by Lesotho National Insurance Group.
The winners pocket M100 000 while runners up take home M80 000 and the third and fourth place bag M60 000 and M40 000 respectively.
Sky Battalion, Kick4Life, LDF and LMPS who were eliminated in the quarter finals will each get M30 000.
LNIG Top fixture
Lioli v Matlama
Bantu v LCS