MASERU — After nearly 30 years of hurt, Linare have a chance to go top of the Vodacom Premier League and secure brief happiness when they face Lerotholi at the Central Prison on Saturday.
Linare, who last won the title in 1980, are second on the log tied on 17 points with leaders Bantu.
However, with A Matšo Matebele inactive this weekend, Tse Tala have the chance to take control of the premiership’s rudder with a win.
Bantu’s top-of-the-table clash with LDF on Sunday is one of three weekend matches postponed because of Makoanyane XI’s involvement in the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships in Botswana.
The grudge match between rivals Lioli and Matlama scheduled for Sunday has also been postponed while Likhopo will no longer host LMPS on Saturday.
Nevertheless, despite the opportunity to go top of the top-flight standings for the first time since October 2008, Linare coach Pitso Mosothoane is urging his charges to approach Saturday’s match with clear heads.
“It’s like any other game,” Mosothoane told the Lesotho Times yesterday.
“We are encouraged by our winning form at the moment but the mission in Saturday’s game is the same as for any other game.
“We are going with the intention of winning the game.”
Lerotholi, who are only a point and a place above the relegation zone, have made a disappointing start to the season, winning just two of their nine matches so far.
However, those two scalps are of champions Matlama and Vodacom Soccer Spectacular kings Likhopo.
Mosothoane as a result is wary of an unpredictable Lihale outfit, despite his side’s unbeaten start to the season and Tse Tala’s impressive wins in their last two matches against Swallows and Lioli.
“We are going to be playing against an underdog relatively speaking and that in itself has its dangers,” Mosothoane said.
“The form (we have had) becomes a pressure to us and a motivation to them. We are not going to underestimate our opposition.”
Mosothoane nonetheless admitted a win and first place would send out a message Linare are ready to add to their championship wins in 1973, 1979 and 1980.
“It will be according to our plans to win all the matches we play,” he said.
Also on Saturday, draw specialists LCS travel to Khukhune to face surprise package Maduma.
Fourth-placed Masheshena, with 12 points, are unbeaten this season but have drawn six of their eight games.
LCS can go third if they beat their newly promoted hosts by three goals.
Maduma, meanwhile, are sixth with nine points and will leapfrog Masheshena if they win with a two-goal margin.
This weekend also sees two early relegation battles.
On Saturday, 12th-placed Mphatlalatsane, with six points, host bottom side Mabeoana who have only collected five points so far this term.
Then on Sunday Swallows, in 13th place and with six points, host another relegation-haunted side, Joy, in Mazenod.