Matlama eye Linare scalp
MATLAMA will be eager to put their slow start to the 2016/17 Vodacom Premier League season behind them when they host Linare at Pitso Ground on Saturday.
The country’s most successful side has won just once in four games but come Saturday their coach Moses Maliehe is adamant their struggles will be a thing of the past.
“We did not play last weekend and that break might have worked to our advantage in terms of getting things right especially scoring goals,” Maliehe said, adding, “Defensively and in midfield we have done well but the problem has been converting the chances.”
The Matlama mentor who is also national team coach said they were desperate to get their second win having played three successive draws in their previous games.
“One win in four matches is not acceptable for a team as big as Matlama and for the fans of the club but I’m confident that we have addressed the problem in the last two weeks. I’m hoping for an improvement against Linare,” he said.
He said they had increased their striking options after their recent struggles by converting Makhetha Thakeli to a striker after having played him in goal since he joined Tse Putsoa.
The lanky player was used as a striker by former club Qoaling Highlanders and he was their top goal scorer while they were still in the premier league.
Maliehe however conceded that Linare were no pushovers as they had been improving as evidenced by their 5-1 thrashing of Rovers 5-1 and a one-all draw with Sundawana in their last two matches.
On the other hand, Linare coach Motlatsi Shale said he was happy to face Matlama at a time his side had picked up after a poor start.
“I have seen a lot of improvement in our play and the players are getting to understand each other better,” Shale said.
“We know that the match against Matlama is not going to be easy and we will have to be at our best to get three points,” he said.
However, Shale was a worried man after star forward Nzenze Nkulu sustained an injured in the 1-1 draw against Sundawana last weekend.
The Congolese player has been the source of goals since joining Tse Tala from Bantu at the start of the season and Shale was hoping that he would recover in time to play in the important game against their old rivals.
“He has played a huge role and I think he settled quickly because I worked with him before at Bantu. It is also easy to get the best out of a player when he is happy.
‘We will assess his situation by Friday to see if he is ready to play because we had given him time off to recover after our last match,” Shale said.
The other Saturday match pits improving defending league champions Lioli against Sundawana at LCS ground.
Tse Nala head into the match on the back of posted back to back victories while the Butha Buthe based side are still chasing their first win.
Winless LDF host Likhopo at Ratjomose Barracks Ground hoping to get off the mark after five games.
Likhopo tasted their first victory against basement club Butha Buthe Warriors last Sunday and will be out to make it two in succession.
League leaders LMPS will only be in action on Sunday against Bantu at Leshoboro Stadium in Mafeteng. Second placed Kick4Life will make the short trip to LCS Ground for a date with the correctional service side on the same day.
Lioli v Sundawana
LDF v Likhopo
Matlama v Linare
Bantu v LMPS
LCS v Kick4Life
Liphakoe v BB Warriors
Rovers v Sky Battalion