MASERU — Goals win games and defence wins championships.
It’s a football adage Lesotho Defence Force look to be keeping true to this season.
Having kept clean sheets in their last four league games, Sohle-Sohle find themselves four points clear at the top as the Vodacom Premier League reaches its half-way mark.
That four-point cushion could well extend to as many as seven by the end of the weekend when they welcome Maduma to their Ratjomose fortress.
LDF’s nearest challengers, Lesotho Correctional Services, are not in action this weekend.
Another clean sheet, just as in their 1-0 win over Lioli last Saturday, would do just fine.
That was LDF’s sixth win from nine games this season and remained the league’s only unbeaten record.
Meanwhile, when it comes to conceding goals, Sohle-Sohle haven’t been breached since a 2-2 draw against Bantu on September 24.
The last time they conceded at home was in a 2-1 win over LCS way back in August on the opening day of the season.
But despite these impressive starts LDF’s communications and marketing manager, Donny Nthakha, insists nothing can be taken for granted as they strive to end a seven-year championship drought.
“A four-point gap is not a gap you can be proud of — you lose one game and your opponent wins, then they are right next to you,” Nkhatha says.
“What we wanted is that at the end of the first round we should be either number one or two.
“We are left with Maduma and Matlama in the first round; if we beat Maduma (on Saturday) it will put us in a good position to achieve that target.
“That is how we are approaching things,” Nthakha says.
Perhaps LDF’s caution is warranted; they have come very close in the last few years.
Last season the Ratjomose side lost the league title on goal difference to LCS and in 2009 they were pipped on the final day of the campaign by Lioli.
LDF are also still to fully discover the effects of a change in management.
Coach Motheo Mohapi has been reassigned to India for work-related reasons, leaving LDF legendary figure Malefetsane Pheko to take over the reins.
But on this front Nthakha says LDF have no worries.
“He (Pheko) has been with the team so long — knowing what we are talking about when we talk about LDF — we have full faith in him,” Nthakha says.
LDF have made a good start under Pheko, winning against Likhopo and Lioli, but it is on the field where he has best been known for over two decades.
“There are games where he will play.
“Teams and games are not the same, I believe he will play in some games,” Nthakha says.
The league is still very tough.
“Maybe if it was the second round it would be easier to talk about our opponents.
“It’s still wide open at the moment,” Nthakha says.
Nevertheless, with opponents dropping points left, right and centre, it seems only LCS have what it takes to challenge Sohle-Sohle for the title. The rest of the usual suspects have been unusually inconsistent.
After a good win over LMPS, Bantu dropped points against Joy, Matlama have a lot of catching-up to do while Lioli and Linare have struggled.
Nthakha says it’s a big achievement that LDF are able to challenge.
“Every year when we start the season the target is to win the league,” Nthakha notes.
“We take players from our ranks but they are not of the same standard as some of the teams we are competing with.
“What we have is team unity,” Nthakha says.
“We are proud that we will be at the top taking into consideration the calibre of players we have.”
If LDF continue their clean fine form then they will be champions at the end of the season and add their names to the impressive roll call of winners.