MASERU — Matlama coach Ntebele Taole has warned his side against complacency in the run-in to the championship.
On Sunday, Matlama took another giant leap towards securing a record ninth league title with a 1-0 victory over LDF at Ratjomose, a result which means Tse Putsoa just need nine more points to win the Vodacom Premier League.
Matlama’s nearest challengers Lioli can only reach 66 points if they win their remaining five fixtures, meaning Matlama — on 58 points — need 67 points to be assured of the title.
Taole has urged his charges to focus.
“(The league) is coming to a close but there is no game that we can afford to take lightly from now on,” Taole said.
On Sunday Pali Tšalong’s first-half goal sealed Matlama’s fourth consecutive victory despite being reduced to 10 men.
Tse Putsoa are now undefeated in 17 league matches, their last loss coming on November 8 last year.
But this Saturday they host a tough tie against arch-rivals Likhopo who still harbour hopes of a top-eight finish.
The last time Matlama beat Likhopo in the league was in March 2007 when Tse Putsoa won 2-1 at Pitso Ground.
Matlama will have to make one change from the side that beat LDF with Tšoanelo Koetle likely to return to the team at right-back and Frank Ntsohi shifting to centre-back to replace the suspended Sello Seholoholo.
Taole said it was important for the side not to drop their intensity in training which he said had been the key to the side’s success.
Taole added he once again expected Matlama’s home support to be a crucial factor against Likhopo.
“The support from the Matlama crowd has helped this season. If I had a tail I would wag it,” he said.
At the same time defending champions Lioli will be playing LDF at Ratjomose needing a victory to keep their title hopes alive.
Lioli are second, 10 points behind Matlama, but with a game in hand.
Meanwhile in Roma, Rovers, on 12 points, will be relegated if they fail to beat LCS.
Rovers have endured a disastrous run of form having not won any of their last 11 matches, collecting just four points from a possible 33.
Rovers’ last win came on December 20 against already relegated Botha-Bothe Roses.
In Mafeteng sixth-placed Bantu will be desperate for the maximum points at the expense of Joy as they seek to keep their top-four hopes alive.
Saturday: LMPS 0-5 Joy, Nyenye Rovers 0-0 Botha-Bothe Roses, Swallows 2-2 LCS, Majantja 3-1 Likhopo.
Sunday: Lerotholi 1-2 Lioli, LDF 0-1 Matlama, Bantu 0-0 Mphatlalatsane, Rovers vs Linare (match abandoned due to rain).
Monday: Joy 0-1 Nyenye Rovers
Saturday: Matlama vs Likhopo (Pitso Ground), LDF vs Lioli (Ratjomose), Bantu vs Joy (Mafeteng), LMPS vs Nyenye Rovers (Old Europa), Rovers vs LCS (Roma), Swallows vs Botha-Bothe Roses (Mazenod), Lerotholi Polytechnic vs Linare (Central Prisons), Majantja vs Mphatlalatsane (Mohale’s Hoek).