Lesotho Times
Sundawana defender Johannes Molapo (in yellow) chases the ball with Likhopo striker Lehlomela Ramabela in this file picture

Likhopo retain Premier League status

Mikia Kalati

LIKHOPO has survived relegation after winning the relegation play-offs against A Division teams Ketane and Lithabaneng Golden.

The side beat Lithabaneng Golden 1-0 and also beat Ketane 2-1 to end the round robin play-offs with six points.

Likhopo finished second from the bottom after a chaotic 2017/18 season where Sandawana was disqualified for failing to fulfil fixtures.

Coach, Halemakale Mahlaha, praised the never die attitude of his young team.

Mahlaha, who joined the club half-way through the 2017/18 season after parting ways with Lioli, said he was delighted that he has helped the team remain in the premiership.

“It was tough playing in the playoffs but we worked hard and we are happy that we survived,” Mahlaha said.

“The unity of the team played a huge part in us avoiding relegation. The lads were dedicated. They had the right attitude from the first day and they remained disciplined.

“It all worked in our favour in the end and we are happy to retain our top-flight status.”

Mahlaha stated that he is committed to remaining in charge of Likhopo ahead of the new season. He however, admitted that they would approach their work differently to ensure that they avoid a similar predicament next season.

“I will continue coaching the club in the new season and try to help the team improve. We have humble and talented youngsters who are willing to learn all the time. I think we can improve that by helping them reach their full potential.

“All that is needed is to instil belief in them so that they can trust their abilities and eventually improve their confidence.

“Of course, we have to reinforce the squad with a few experienced players.  Having at least two players for each position will also help our team to be more competitive so that players start fighting for their place in the team.

“However, I believe in the boys and we just have to help them to remain hard working,” Mahlaha said.

Likhopo won back-to-back league titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons.

The club’s standards have declined in recent years as it has faced administration problems which led to the departure of their experienced players.

The situation worsened following the death of club owner and founder, Bishop Molatoli, which has also seen the club lose the sponsorship of Matekane Group of Companies.

Likhopo has helped nurture the careers of some of the best players in the country such as Bokang Mothoana, Ralekoti Mokhahlane and Tlali Maile. The majority of these players have all left the Red Army in search of greener pastures at clubs like Bantu, Lioli, LCS and Kick4Life.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

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