MASERU — Like the sunrise on a chilly, sleepy morning, the new Buddie Premier League season brings with it bright hopes and warm expectations for a new beginning.
This Saturday’s new dawn also brings with it many questions.
Can anyone topple Lioli? Who will be the four teams relegated? How many goals will be scored this season?
However, the only question that will be asked by LMPS supporters who have followed their side’s steady progress over recent seasons is whether Simunye can make the leap from being cup kings to becoming Lesotho’s kings.
After their MGC Supa 8 triumph last month LMPS go into the new season looking to claim their first league title.
That victory in Roma surprised the nation and all of a sudden expectations, both inside and outside, have been raised.
And after finishing fourth last season LMPS coach Selia Makubekube is quietly confident.
Makubekube had been assistant to Naleli Tšilo for the last two seasons as LMPS enjoyed the most successful period in the club’s history, winning the Imperial Top 8 in 2008 and the Buddie Top 4 in 2007.
Now he is in the top seat, and after leading the side to this year’s Supa 8 Makubekube is looking forward to an assault on the championship.
“The league is something that we want to win,” Makubekube told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday. “We are going to fight to win the title.”
“When you have played well there is that little pressure that suddenly comes,” he said. “During the MGC tournament you could say that we were the underdogs so there was not so much pressure but now it will be different.”
That pressure will be heightened by the fear of the unknown. LMPS’s first match of this season is against Majantja at the Central Prisons — a side that endured a woeful 2008/09 season, escaping relegation on the last day of the season.
But LMPS will not take Majantja lightly.
“I haven’t seen Majantja in any of their pre-season games and I can’t say a lot about them. But every time we play against them we always have very tough encounters,” Makubekube said.
“If we start well it will help us. We know that in this league if you win the first couple of games you can be settled for the rest of the campaign,” Makubekube said. “The spirit is high and thankfully we have no injuries.”
But before LMPS take to the field the 2009/10 season gets underway with a clash between LCS and Likhopo.
Masheshena who, finished third last season, will go into the clash as clear favourites with LCS coach Katiso Mojakhomo expected to hand a debut to new signing goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile.
Likhopo, on their part, will be without their dangerous forward, Thapelo Tale, who has been injured on international duty with Likuena. Bishop Molatoli will also be without several players because of school commitments.
The time for talking is over — the league season is finally here.
Premier League fixtures:
LCS vs Likhopo (13h00, Central Prisons)
LMPS vs Majantja (15h30, Central Prisons)
Joy vs Lioli (15h00, Sebothoane)
Rovers vs Lerotholi (15h00, Roma)
Linare vs Mphatlalatsane (15h00, Hlotse)
Nyenye Rovers vs Matlama (15h00, Maputsoe)
Bantu vs Butha-Buthe Roses (15h00, Mafeteng)
Swallows vs LDF (15h00, Mazenod)