Lioli coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, has called on his charges to beat Linare in their last league match of the year and open “a big gap” at the top of the 14-team Vodacom Premiership table.
Tse Nala travel to Hlotse on Saturday to play Linare in their last match of the first round campaign and Mokhothu said despite his team already guaranteed a top finish at the end of the year, they still need all the three points on offer.
“Matches against Linare are never easy and the rivalry has a big history so we will have to be at our best to finish the year on a high note,” Mokhothu said.
The Lioli coach insisted it was important to give Saturday’s match the respect it deserves, and forget about Linare’s woes. The Hlotse-based side last week suspended their two star players, captain Mabuti Potloane and defender Kopano Motaung, for alleged indiscipline and were beaten 2-0 by second-placed Bantu last Saturday, and had lost 1-0 to LCS the previous weekend. Linare currently occupy eighth position on the table.
“We will be entering a crucial part of the league programme in the New Year and it is important that we stretch the lead by a big margin going into the Christmas break,” Mokhothu noted.
The Lioli mentor further said he was happy that his team has been delivering after some of his players appeared to be suffering from burnout following a tough 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign with the national team, Likuena. Lesotho beat Kenya and Liberia in the knockout stage of the Afcon tournament before drawing Burkina Faso, Gabon and Angola in the group phase of the campaign. However, the team, which comprised seven Lioli players, failed to make it to the final, with Burkina Faso and Gabon making it from the group.
“Luckily for us, we had a plan and rested some of our key personnel, while giving fringe players a chance to play and they did not disappoint,” said Mokhothu.
“We also had to change our game-plan to suit the players we had at the time and so far so good; everything is working quite well for us.”
Mokhothu noted Lioli are still without key players, Lekhanya Lekhanya, captain Shetsane Ramoseeka, and Teboho Lekhooa, while Jerry Kamele had also joined the list of injured players.
Meanwhile, in another closing league match of the first round set for Saturday, Matlama will be seeking to finish among the top four teams on the table, as they face rookies Likila United away in Butha-Buthe.
Veteran midfielder Pali Tšalong said last week’s 3-0 win away to Nyenye Rovers in St Monica’s had boosted morale among the Matlama ranks.
“It’s important to finish the first round in a respectable position and for us to do that, we have to win this match against Likila,” Tšalong said.
“We played very well away to Nyenye last weekend and I think we can continue with that form and end the first round campaign in a respectable position.”
Also on Saturday, Likhopo host Sundawana, while LCS are also at home to Mphatlalatsane.
Weekend fixtures at a glance
December 13: Linare v Lioli (Hlotse), Likila v Matlama (Butha-Buthe), Likhopo v Sundawana (LCS Ground), LCS v