Matete sets sights on top four finish

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Mikia Kalati

MATLAMA coach Seephephe Matete is optimistic that the acquisition of a few more quality players will help his side secure at least a top four finish in the 2017/2018 Vodacom Premier League season.

Affectionately known as ‘Tse Putsoa’, Matlama are the country’s most successful side with nine league titles.

However, they have found the going tough in the past few seasons and they will be hoping for an improved 2017/2018 season.

They have been hard at work in their pre-season with new faces including their former midfielder Pali Tšalong who was unavailable last season due to work commitments and Lisema Lebokollane who recently returned after completing his studies at Lerotholi Polytechnic.

In addition, Matete said the club was in talks to bring the in-demand Nzenze Nkulu who scored 17 goals and narrowly missed out on last season’s golden boot by one goal.

The Congolese forward played for Linare in the previous campaign while on loan from Bantu and Matete said they were keen on adding him to their squad as he was already training with them.

“It is normal with every team that around this time there are new faces being assessed to reinforce the squad,” Matete said.

“We have new faces at the club to improve competition among our players so that they can help the team improve their position in the league.

“There are few players that are back at the club after loan spells due to school commitments such as Lebokollane who was studying and playing for Lerotholi Polytechnic.

“There is also Tšalong who we are assessing because we believe his experience will be vital and we will give feedback on him after a month. There is also Selikoe Mokhothu who was on loan at Sky Battalion last season.

“We will also loan out and release those that do not fit into our plans.”

Matete, a Matlama legend from his playing days and different spells as coach of the club, said he was confident that his charges would improve on last season’s eighth place finish now that he had had pre-season with them.

“It is very easy for any coach to take the blame when things do not go well when they have had pre-season with the players.”

He said would leave without being pushed out if Matlama was not among the top four at the end of the 2017/18 season because he would have failed the club.

“I am very happy with how things are going because I have had pre-season with the team and brought the players that I want to beef up the squad.

“So we will continue to assess the situation and add more faces to make the squad stronger.

“Our target is not to win the league but to be among the top four teams.”

He said it was only after achieving a top four finish that the league became a target.

“Teams like Bantu and Lioli will be targeting the title from the start because they were in first and second place.

“So if I cannot challenge for a position among the top four I will have failed and leave without being asked to do so,” he said.

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