LIKHOPO will be looking to complete a double over LDF when the two teams clash at Ratjomose Barracks on Saturday.
The Red Army endured a difficult start to the new-year having drawn one and lost twice but coach Halemakale Mahlaha told this publication that his side has been hard at work to rectify their mistakes.
Mahlaha admitted that his youthful squad has struggled to pick-up the pieces since missing a late penalty in a goalless draw against Bantu three weeks ago.
The two-time Lesotho Premier League champions have since lost back-to-back matches to LCS and LMPS and have a mountain to climb again against LDF on Saturday. LMPS beat Likhopho 2-0 in the first round and edged them by a similar score line last weekend.
“Indeed, it’s been tough in the new-year but we will work hard to get things right,” Mahlaha said.
“LDF is a strong team and got a point last weekend so they will want to continue with positive results.”
The Likhopo mentor stated that he expects LDF to come out raging to revenge for the 2-1 loss in the reverse fixture.
“I expect a similar match to that of LMPS since we also beat LDF in the first round and they will be looking for revenge.
“This means the forthcoming match is going to be tough and our preparations have been intense because we know what to expect.
“Of course, we have not been at our best since that goalless draw against Bantu where we missed a late penalty. We are a young team but have sat down to analyse our mistakes to ensure that we are back on track,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kick4Life will be searching for their first win of 2019 when they host Majantja at LCS Ground also on Saturday.
Bob Mafoso’s side was on fire towards the end of 2018 and went on a six-match winning streak but struggled to produce the same form last weekend as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sefotha-fotha.
Mafoso feels his side is still rusty compared to most of the teams as they were playing their first game of the second round.
“We cannot complain about the draw with Sefotha-fotha because only Lioli and LDF were able to take maximum points from them among the big teams in the first round.
“We got three points against them and it was not going to be easy to do it again being a tough team to play.
“You must also consider that this was our first game of the second round while they played last weekend so we were behind in terms of match fitness.
“I think a lot of factors contributed to the performance on the day,” Mafoso said.
Mafoso said he has not set targets for the 2018/19 campaign for his side at this stage and they are taking it game by game.
“We are taking it game by game. At the beginning, the goal was to improve on last year’s position but stability is also very important as a team.
“So, the goal has always been to try to be on the same level with last season and I think so far we have collected more points than we did at this stage last season,” Mafoso said.
Elsewhere on Saturday, defending champions Bantu are expected to return to the domestic league after their elimination from the CAF Confederations Cup.
A Matšo Matebele were given time off by the league to focus on their continental assignments and are five games behind the rest of the teams.
James Madidilane’s side will take on bottom placed Galaxy while Lioli will be hoping to continue with their two-match unbeaten run when they host Swallows in Teyateyaneng.
On Sunday, league leaders LCS will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Linare who are still without a win since the appointment of Freeze Ntene and Moses Ramafole as the new coaches.
In form Matlama will also be in action on Sunday as they face LMPS at Setsoto Stadium. Tse Putsoa have bagged three victories in a row in the new-year while the police side has two successive wins since the appointment of Teel Ntšonyana as their new coach.
Sefotha-fotha will battle it out with Liphakoe in another match on Sunday.
Econet Premier League fixture
Kick4Life v Majantja
Bantu v Galaxy
Lioli v Swallows
LDF v Likhopo
LMPS v Matlama
LCS v Linare
Sefotha-fotha v Liphakoe