League is still open-Manda


Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA coach Charles Manda insists that his team still stands a chance of defending its title following last weekend’s 1-1 draw with runaway leaders, Bantu at Setsoto Stadium.

Bantu are leading the 14-team Econet Premier League table with 44 points and have now gone for 16 matches without a loss. They are 12 points ahead of second-placed Matlama.

Matlama drew first blood through a Jane Thabantšo spot kick at Setsoto Stadium in the first half on Sunday.

Litšepe Marabe, who is currently the league’s top scorer levelled the matters for Bantu early in the second half in the process scoring his 13th goal in 16 matches.

Despite all the odds favouring Bantu, Manda insisted that they can still close the 12 points gap and defend their title.

Both teams have 10 league games left and for Matlama to win the title, they need five wins while Bantu must lose at least four; a feat that looks farfetched for a side that has not lost once so far. The only side that has taken points from Bantu this season is Matlama and they have only two out of a possible six.

Matlama, on the other hand, have already lost twice. But Manda is adamant that 12 points are not out of his side’s reach.

“The gap is still 12 points and we are both left with 10 matches so there are no champions yet; the league is still open for both teams,” Manda said.

“We must just work hard and try to collect maximum points in all the remaining matches. We still want it and there is still a chance for us to clinch. However, let’s wait for May. Yes, they are leading for now but we will push them to the wire.”

In other league matches on Sunday, LDF ended Linare’s six match-unbeaten run edging the 1-0 at Ratjomose Ground courtesy of a Thabang Rabi goal.

The loss saw Linare drop one step to fifth while LDF jumped to eight with 20 points.

LCS also returned to winning ways following their 3-1 loss to Matlama two weeks ago as they halted LMPS’ winning streak edging them 1-0 at LCS Ground. Keketso Snyder’s goal helped Mpitsa Marai’s side move three places to third with 26 points. LMPS dropped one step to sixth with 24 points.

On Saturday Kick4Life held Lioli to a goalless draw at LCS Ground. The draw saw Kick4Life maintain its 10th position with 22 points while Lioli remained 10th with 17 points.

Likhopo and Lifofane drew one-all in Butha-Buthe on Saturday. John Mofokeng scored for Likhopo while Thabiso Mari scored for Lifofane. The draw saw Lifofane drop one step to fourth with 26 points while Likhopo dropped one spot to ninth with 19 points.

Lijabatho were also back to winning ways following a streak of poor performances beating Sefotha-fotha 2-0 in Morija. Retšelisitsoe Mopeli and Mabula were on target for Thabile Secker’s side helping him register his first win since his appointment as Lijabatho coach last month.

The win was however not enough for Mahala to get out of the relegation zone. They remained 13th with 12 points while Sefotha-fotha are 11th with 14 points.

Liphakoe were the biggest winners thumping Swallows 3-0 at Nyakosoba. Tšepang Makapa’s brace and another goal from Mocoane Ntema helped Teele Ntšonyana register his first win since his appointment last month.

On the other hand, the result saw Liphakoe remain 12th with 13 points.

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