Lioli go for the kill

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Mikia Kalati

Lioli coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu wants his charges to be ruthless when they face Rovers on Saturday in the penultimate round of the 2015/16 Vodacom Premier League season.

Table-topping Tse Nala are brimming with confidence after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Matlama last Saturday and could be crowned champions this weekend if they beat Rovers and second-placed Matlama lose against third-placed LCS.

Both matches take place on Saturday with the Lioli/Rovers clash set for Setsoto while Matlama take on LCS at LCS Ground.

However, Mokhothu has warned his players not to get carried away with last weekend’s win over their title-rivals as Rovers are a dangerous side desperate for maximum points to enhance their chances of avoiding relegation.

“We are happy that we beat Matlama who are our rivals in this title race, but the battle is not over yet,” Mokhothu said.

“The match against Rovers is equally important and we cannot afford to drop points as this might come back to haunt us.”

According to Mokhothu, each game has become important as teams fight not to lose points in their last two matches of the season.

“There is no small team in this league and every team deserves respect so our preparations for the match will be intense—the same way we have done throughout the season,” said Mokhothu.

“When I took over this team three seasons ago, my plan was to dominate for over five years. That is why I had a good mix of young and experienced players.

“I believe everything is going according to plan, but we need to maintain the standards and finish the job we started this season because the journey is not yet over.”

For his part, Matlama coach, Moses Maliehe, admitted the loss against Lioli was painful to take.

“We were very disappointed and hurt with that loss to Lioli because we wanted to win the match to boost our chances of winning the league title,” Maliehe said.

“But there is nothing we can do about it now and must do our best in the remaining games.

“I have not really lost hope because football is full of surprises and anything can still happen in these two remaining matches.”

Maliehe, who is also the national team interim coach, said his charges face an equally tough match against LCS which they have to win and then capitalize on any slip-ups Lioli might make.

“We know LCS are also wounded after they lost their last two games, but we will go there and fight.

“Even if we don’t win the league, I will still be proud of our achievements this season,” Maliehe said.

Asked if he would continue with Matlama beyond this season after he was put in temporary charge of the national team, Maliehe said: “For every coach, there is that desire to want to continue, especially when you have done well in your first season in charge of a team. I still very much want to continue with Matlama, but I will sit down with management to discuss the way forward.”

Meanwhile, LMPS on Saturday host Likila United as both sides battle to survive the dreaded chop to the A Division.

On Sunday, Linare will be hoping to consolidate their topflight status when they take on Mphatlalatsane in a relegation scrap set for Maputsoe DIFA Ground while Likhopo host Kick4Life at LCS Ground.

Sunday’s other two matches will see Sundawana host Bantu in Butha-Buthe in a potentially fierce top-four fight while Liphakoe go head-to-head with LDF as both sides battle for a top-eight finish.

Full fixtures at a glance

Saturday: LCS v Matlama, LMPS v Likila United, Lioli v Rovers.

Sunday: Linare v Mphatlalatsane, Likhopo v Kick4Life, Sundawana v Bantu,

Liphakoe v LDF.

No. Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Lioli 24 16 7 1 38 10 28 55
2 Matlama 24 16 4 4 40 21 19 52
3 LCS 24 12 7 5 23 12 11 43
4
Sandawana 24 11 5 8 24 23 1 38
5 Likhopo 24 9 9 6 27 19 8 36
6 Kick4life 24 8 10 6 21 21 0 34
7 Bantu 24 9 6 9 24 18 6 33
8 LDF 24 7 10 7 22 20 2 31
9 LMPS 24 5 11 8 22 27 -5 26
10 Liphakoe 24 5 10 9 19 28 -9 25
11 Linare 24 5 8 11 25 30 -5 23
12 Rovers 24 5 6 13 14 28 -14 21
13 Likila United 24 5 5 14 16 32 -16 20
14 Mphatlalatsane 24 3 6 15 19 45 -26 15

 

 

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