MASERU — The just-ended Vodacom Premier League season saw highs and lows, goals and misses.
It also saw the return to local football of prodigies Dlomo Monapathi, Motlalepula Mofolo and Tefo Maipato who went on to shine for Matlama, Lioli and Bantu respectively.
Living legend Lebajoa Mphongoa also returned for Nyenye Rovers albeit in a coaching role.
The Lesotho Times looks back at the season:
Team of the season
Before losing 2-0 to Lioli, Tse Putsoa had been on an incredible 19-match unbeaten run which all but sealed a record ninth championship.
Matlama of course also won the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular last November.
A special mention goes to new boys Bantu.
The Mafeteng side would have made a strong case for the award if they had made it into the top four.
Still it’s been a remarkable achievement for the sixth-placed A Matšo Makaota who only returned to the top-flight league this season after a four-year absence.
Worst team of the season
Botha-Bothe Roses were out of form this season.
Last season Sekamaneng Young Stars broke all records of mediocrity so much so that it was impossible to imagine that any team could ever come close.
But Botha-Bothe Roses came closest.
Roses conceded 78 goals as they lost an unbelievable 24 matches.
The Butha-Buthe side was in the relegation zone for the entire season.
They managed just two wins, 17 goals and a measly 10 points — only two more than Sekamaneng Young Stars, in their 30 matches.
Match of the season
The Rovers/Matlama match may not be the best match in technical terms but the rollercoaster nature of the game makes it the best of the season.
After Matlama had dominated the first half to lead 1-0, Mpho Matsinyane bulldozed the Matlama defence to give Rovers a 2-1 lead within 15 minutes of the restart.
But Matlama claimed a pulsating 3-2 victory thanks to Tšoanelo Koetle’s stunning equaliser in 77th minute before Hlomelang Theko poked home the winner six minutes later.
Worst moment of season
The match between Matlama and Lioli provided the ugly side of local football.
The fans who packed Pitso Ground on January 24 witnessed probably the best match of the season.
That was until hooligans ensured the Battle of Lesotho ended prematurely, 13 minutes from time, with a rampant Matlama leading 3-0.
The game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Nyenye Rovers’s Montoeli Senopo stood out.
The speedy and skilful winger was a consistent shining light in a struggling team which suffered a quick return to the first division.
Many clubs will surely be fighting for the Lesotho Under-20 international’s signature during the off-season.
Select team of the season
Liteboho Mokhesi (Matlama); Tšoanelo Koetle (Matlama), Nkau Lerotholi (Matlama), Tlali Maile (Bantu), Mafaesa Jane (Likhopo), Tšeliso Sejake (Lerotholi), Bota Ramantsoe (LMPS), Pali Tšalong (Matlama), Litšepe Marabe (Matlama), Mojela Letsie (LDF), Dlomo Monapathi (Matlama)
Top Four winners:
Matlama (M100 000), Lioli (M60 000) LMPS (M50 000), LDF (M42 500)
Majantja, Nyenye Rovers, Rovers, Botha-Bothe Roses
Goalkeeper of the season: Liteboho Mokhesi (Matlama)Top goal-scorer: Mojela Letsie (16 goals)Most improved player: Pali Tšalong (Matlama)Coach of the season: Ntebele Taole (Matlama)League winners: Matlama It is hard to dispute that Matlama were the finest side in the country over the past nine months, even though they only limped over the finishing line.