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Is this the end for Masheshena?

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — LCS’s loss to Matlama in the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular final marks the first time in five years Masheshena will finish a calendar year without adding silverware to their collection.
It is something almost unheard of at the Central Prisons headquarters as LCS have built-up a bulging trophy cabinet in recent years.
Masheshena won two successive league titles in 2006/07 and 2007/08. On top of that, LCS won the Buddie Top Four tournament in 2004 and Imperial Fleet Services Top Eight in 2005, while 2008 saw them clinch both the MGC Supa 8 and the inaugural Vodacom Soccer Spectacular. But LCS’s downturn has been sudden and continual.
After dominating Lesotho football for three successive years, Masheshena finished third in the championship last season, 11 points behind eventual champions, Lioli.
Then in August, LCS lost to LDF in the semi-finals of the season opening MGC Supa 8 and now Masheshena have been beaten by Matlama in the final of the Soccer Spectacular.
And while this could all point to the end of an era for Masheshena, club general-secretary Lehlohonolo Matlosa thinks otherwise.
“I can’t say that we are losing our grip (on Lesotho football),” Matlosa told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.
“It is clear that our form has dropped, we haven’t started a league season so badly. Usually, we are number one or two this time of the season, not where we are,” he added.
LCS are eighth in the Vodacom Premier League — eight points behind first-placed Matlama. Masheshena are yet to win a match away from their Central Prisons home, which casts aspersions on their credentials as serious title contenders.
Yet LCS’s form is surprising, considering the quality of their players.
On Sunday against Matlama, Masheshena’s starting eleven included 10 Likuena internationals.
“We have a good squad; they just have to be given time to gel and play as a unit,” Matlosa insisted.
There has been uncertainty at the club too. LCS parted ways with coach, Katiso Mojakhomo — the man who had been in charge during LCS’s most-successful period — and Masheshena are being overseen by former player, Liphapang Motanya, on a temporary basis.
But Matlosa denied this had impacted negatively on the team and contributed to the final defeat in Roma.
“No not at all,” Matlosa said. “We were losing to LDF regularly now, we had not won against them  in our last three meetings but we managed to beat them in Roma (in the Vodacom semi-finals) and playing well, too. That shows there is improvement.”
Matlosa said the team would still improve further and that it wasn’t the end of  Masheshena.
“We don’t want to put ourselves under pressure just because we haven’t won any trophies,” he said.
“It is something that happens everywhere. If you look at football overseas, you will find a team hasn’t won a trophy for three years but before the slump, had been winning everything. Teams are improving; you can’t expect they would stay at the same level. They are coming with new ideas and plans to beat LCS,” Matlosa said.
“But we are going to come back; we are going to shock those who are writing us off come end of the season,” Matlosa said.

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