Maliehe rejuvenated Matlama  

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Mikia Kalati

Matlama might not win the premier league championship this season especially after Saturday’s loss to title-rivals Lioli.

The loss gave Tse Nala a big boost to retain their title as the topflight league heads into its last two matches of the season.

Yet this has been a season we saw the revival of a giant that had become ordinary over the last few years.

I must admit I did not see Tse Putsoa challenging for the league title when the season started, but credit must go to coach Moses Maliehe who managed to make Matlama such a force in his first season in charge of the team.

Tse Putsoa supporters can now talk about their team with pride and have also been able to attend their matches in numbers, all thanks to what Maliehe has brought to the table.

Some people were not happy when the club agreed to let iconic defender, Nkau Lerotholi, leave for LMPS at the start of the second round of the season, but Maliehe has since proved it is not about individuals, but the team as a unit, which brings the desired results.

Players like Kefuoe Mahula and Motebang Sera had struggled to hold regular places in the Matlama starting line-up since coming through the ranks, but these two were among players given the platform to play regular football this season by Maliehe and they never disappointed hence Matlama’s second position as we head towards the end of the season.

Both players have since earned call-ups to the national team, which shows Maliehe managed to empower players who were just squad-members until his arrival at the club.

For Sera, not only has he become a regular player this season, but he is also on the verge of winning the Golden Boot award come end of the campaign as he leads the charts with 12 goals.

This has also been the season Tšeliso Ramathe lived up to the potential he showed as a young player.

The former national under-17 captain enjoyed playing alongside Lerotholi in the heart of the Matlama defence, but also held his own after the departure of the veteran defender.

As much as it disappointing to Matlama supporters that chances of their beloved club winning a historic 10th league championship might be over, they should nevertheless, be very proud that after years struggling to challenge for honours, they finally have a team that has what it takes to compete against any side in the league.

No one gave their youthful squad a chance at the start of the season, but Maliehe believed in his players and also made them believe in themselves.

What Matlama should now do is to make sure that they add more faces to their squad so that whoever will be coaching the team next season—that is if Maliehe decides to take up the national team job on a fulltime basis—has a big pool of players.

Like I have said before, it is always entertaining when you have all the big guns in the mix as far as competing for honours is concerned because it really is a disgrace that such a big team has not won the league title since the 2009/10 season.

On the other hand, I think what has helped Lioli become such a competitive side over recent years is the depth in talent in their squad and Matlama should also have a big team that can sustain them all season.

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