Leqele crowned netball champs

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Leemisa Thuseho

LEQELE Netball Club were on Sunday crowned the National League champions after beating rivals, LCS, 25-22 at Ha-Ratjomose in Maseru.

The sides, which had last met in the league in 2018, renewed their rivalry after emerging victorious in the semifinals on Saturday.

Leqele qualified for the finals after a 47-11 win over their sister club, First Number, while LCS thumped Focus 55-12.

First Number beat Focus 31-24 in the third-place play-off.

‘Mampiti Morai of Leqele was named the shooter of the season while Relebohile Libatla of City Eagles is the overall player of the season.

Focus’ Litšoanelo Masia and First Number’s ‘Mameti Posholi were named midcourt and goalkeeper of the season respectively.

‘Matšepo Mafeke won the female umpire of the year award.

In the males’ competition final, Tigers beat Prince 28-14 to be crowned the champions. South Oceans came third.

Prince goal defender, Neo Orpen, walked away with the overall player of the year award in the males’ competition while the goal defender of the year award went to Tefo Mosala of Tigers.

Centre player, Bokamoso Mahooana of South Ocean, was named the midcourt player of the year while Tumisang Masenkane of Tigers was named goal shooter of the year. Masenkane also won the male umpire of the year.

Leqele coach, Munyaradzi Shanduka, told the Lesotho Times that he was excited to have won the league for the second time.

“My team is made up of top-quality players and I saw the victory coming because of the way we have been playing throughout the season,” Shanduka said.

“We have three teams (First Number, Leqele and Leqele Development) in the league but because we have our own way of doing things, all these teams reached the quarter finals and two went further to the semifinals. This means Leqele will be a powerhouse for a long time.”

Playing LCS is always a tough task but Shanduka said given the experience that his players have gathered over the years, they followed their script.

“We know that LCS is a big team which is trained in military style. They also have tall and experienced players but my young players are energetic and fast and we are able to balance tactics with physical training. Therefore, mastering all this makes us a tough side. Now I am proud that my girls have gathered enough experience and they do not fear any team.

“I have respect for LCS, they can’t be shadowed by the loss to Leqele as being number two shows that they are still a big team. But people should expect Leqele’s dominance to continue for a long time,”

In his capacity as LCS coach, Orpen said they were proud to reach the finals.

“We played and lost but we are proud to get a medal because the most important thing is to reach the finals. We will work hard next season. This is the second time we are finishing second and we must do better next time,” Orpen said.

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