At the start of the season, the Lesotho Times carried a story where I predicted Lioli would retain their league title and Tse Nala proved me right at the weekend.
I believe it was relatively easy for one to pick Tse Nala as favourites for the championship due to the quality of their squad.
Another advantage the Teyateyaneng-based side boasted was their coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu had been with the club for some time while the rest of the big guns started the campaign with new coaches.
At some point, Lioli’s goalkeepers Kananelo Makhooane and Liteboho Mokhehle were in Moses Maliehe’s national team while the third goalkeeper, Mohau Kuenane, had also been the country’s first-choice.
The goalkeeping department, on its own, tells a story of a very strong team because it is very rare to find two goalkeepers from the same team in the national side at the same time.
I think where Lioli only fell a bit short was in the striking department as none of their forwards were regular scorers and so couldn’t win the Golden Boot award for the most goals in a season.
However, despite their strikers’ struggle for consistency, they still contributed immensely to the cause as did the rest of this star-studded squad.
But among all the 14 teams in the premier league, Matlama were my surprise package of the season.
Tse Putsoa had a shaky start to the campaign but continued to grow from strength to strength as the season progressed and ultimately gave Lioli a run for their money to the very end, hence their runners-up finish.
While I predicted Matlama to be in the race for the title, I never thought they would be that strong.
The country’s most successful side did not have the depth Lioli had, but still managed to grind results week-in and week-out and their coach, Maliehe, just like Mokhothu, deserves credit for the way he managed his squad.
Some of the players were never regulars before Maliehe came but when they got the chance, they didn’t disappoint.
One such player was Motebang Sera, who grabbed that opportunity with both hands and repaid Maliehe’s faith by winning the Golden Boot award with 14 goals.
For Bantu, many of their supporters thought I did not like their team when I said this was going to be a disappointing season for them.
The writing was on the wall for Bantu even before the season started and I could see all was not well in the A Matšo Matebele camp.
Their problems were mostly off the field and I could say started when they sacked coach Katiso Mojakhomo just seven games into the campaign.
It became very difficult for Bantu to get things back on track as Motlatsi Shale also returned to the club, but was sacked shortly after.
The one other team that proved me wrong was Sundawana. I really didn’t think the club would be good enough for the fourth position they managed this term.
In my prediction, I saw Sundawana managing a top-eight finish but never fourth position.
Bob Mafoso proved once again that he is among the best young coaches in the country after leading Likila United to sixth place the previous season—the first time they were playing in the elite league.
But for Likila, like I predicted, it is not a surprise that they have been relegated as it was going to take something special for them to repeat what they did last season without signing top players.
Kick4Life also surprised many, especially in the second round of the season
It looks like the appointment of former Likuena coach, Leslie Notši, worked magic for the club as they finished the season in a respectable 6th position.
Among their biggest achievements this campaign, they can boast about completing a double over Bantu.
LCS were also fantastic in Mpitsa Marai’s first season as the team’s head-coach.
There is nothing surprising about their season as I had predicted they would finish in fourth position. But there was a time Masheshena looked like they would fight for the league title, but like many of the teams in our league, they had issues off the pitch and in the end, this affected their performance and fell by the way side.
For the likes of Likhopo and LDF, it was not hard to predict they would be vying for a top-eight position as the two teams are struggling to return to their good old days.
For LDF, they have been reluctant to sign top players and did not have enough quality to match the likes of Lioli and Matlama while Likhopo have been losing their cream and it was always going to be difficult for them to compete for honours.
As for Linare, I never expected the Leribe-based side to be as poor as they have been this season.
Tse Tala were very lucky to survive the chop in the end, but for a team with such a big history, were a huge disappointment.
For teams that were in the relegation zone from word go, it was not surprising that Rovers only saved their topflight status on the last day of the campaign.
In the relegation battle, I predicted that Rovers and Liphakoe would go down on the basis that it was never easy for promoted sides to hit the ground running and endure the rigours of the premier league.
Luckily for Liphakoe, they managed to get out of the relegation dogfight a bit earlier while for Rovers, it went to the very last day of the campaign to secure their topflight status for another season.
At the end, Mphatlalatsane and Likila United were booted out of the premier league and wuld be in the A Division next season.
All in all, it was an entertaining campaign to the very end and big-ups to Vodacom who made it all possible for our clubs to compete all season with their sponsorship of the league.