SETSOTO was the place to be last weekend as the country’s top four teams battled for the Independence Cup and the M200 000 first prize.
Lioli were crowned winners after they beat bitter rivals Bantu 2-1 in the final.
However, there were ugly scenes during and after the match owing to the expected tempers that flared due to the rivalry that the two teams have.
I was disappointed by Bantu midfielder, Lehlohonolo Fothoane’s behaviour, when he maliciously stepped onto Switbert Kum’s body when he was already down injured in the match.
Not only could he have seriously injured the Lioli striker but his actions led to chaos that erupted between the two sets of players immediately after the final whistle.
This, of course, needed mediation from police officers who were already standby due to the tension that was witnessed in the match.
The incident took place in front of the of the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC), who I feel should act to instil discipline in the players.
I know Fothoane must be going through a tough time having lost his father recently but he needs to learn that discipline is crucial in football. He should also learn to be responsible for his actions all the time.
I think the Bantu management as well as the coaches will be the first to admit that Fothoane’s actions were uncalled for and has the potential to damage the Bantu brand which is without a doubt the biggest in the country.
Such carelessness can harm the game especially considering that Metropolitan Lesotho have already announced that they are stepping back as the co-sponsors of the tournament which is also bankrolled by Standard Lesotho Bank
Apart from the ugly scenes, the competition lived up to expectations with a goals galore helping all the matches be decided in the 90 minutes.
The third-place play-off between Matlama and LDF on Sunday was a seven goal thriller which the army side won 4-3 in the end.
No one can dispute that Lioli were the better team in the two days of the tournament having beaten high flying Matlama in the semi-final on Saturday before getting the better of Bantu in the final on Sunday.
I think the biggest credit goes to the new Tse Nala technical team led by Lehlohonolo Thoyanyana who once again proved that he is one of the best coaches in the country.
Looking at the Tse Nala squad that clinched the tournament, I honestly think that they are not anywhere near the team that won several trophies in the last two to three years.
However, I feel Thotanyana’s management skills made the difference. The coach has proven before that he does not need big stars to make a difference when he won the league title in 2013.
Tse Nala have now completed a double over Bantu for the first time in more than a decade having also beaten them earlier in the season in the Econet Premier league.
Bantu had proven to be a hoodoo team for Tse Nala in recent years but that looks to be a thing of the past since Thotanyana’s arrival.
The supporters who came in droves in the two days of the competition must also be applauded for making the event colourful.
I cannot leave out Standard Lesotho Bank and Metropolitan Lesotho who collaboratively bankrolled the tournament.
They both played a huge role in improving the standards of the game in the country.
It is also not a secret that the football fraternity in the Mountain Kingdom remains hopeful that Metropolitan Lesotho will reconsider their decision to walk away from the competition.
Congratulations Tse Nala!