Matlama’s starlet plans for hot return

MASERU — Matlama Under-20 starlet Litšepe Marabe says he is hoping to build on his improving form.

The 19-year-old forward has had a season punctuated by injuries which have prevented him from reaching last season’s heights.

His latest setback was a shoulder injury suffered on international duty in Saudi Arabia in March with the Makoanyane XI that kept him out of action for four weeks.

Last season Marabe scored 11 goals in the Vodacom Premier League as Matlama were crowned champions. This season he has only found the net three times as Tse Putsoa lie seventh on the Vodacom Premier League log.

But his classy brace in an all-round good performance against Linare last Saturday could have been a turning point.

“This season has been tough because of injuries and I only started scoring against Mabeoana last month,” Marabe said in an interview with the Lesotho Times.

The shoulder is still bothering him but he believes it will get better.

However, the player did come back in time for the Caf African Youth Championship in South Africa last month.

Although his performance was below par in first game against Egypt, Marabe came back to score against South Africa and star in a 1-1 draw with Mali.

“I’m not happy that much because we didn’t play well as a team despite showing a lot of promise before. (But) since the Cosafa (tournament) last March my aim has been to score in every tournament and I am happy that I managed to do just that. It was encouraging for me,” he said.

Marabe was integral in helping Matlama win the league and cup double last season, a record ninth title for Tse Putsoa and first since 2003.

The skilful player has a rare eye for goal and his absence may have been one of the reasons why Matlama have under-performed this season.  They have only scored 20 goals in 22 games.

There have been some highs though; Matlama played admirably in the Caf Champions League losing 3-2 to South Africa’s SuperSport United in January. Marabe scored but since then goals have been few and far between for the Maseru Glamour Boys.

Marabe said Matlama would try continuing their improved form until the end of the season to set a platform for next season.

“It’s been a painful season for us. We changed coaches a lot and every coach arrived with their own style and approach. We were fine as players,” he said.

The young player noted that Lesotho’s standard of play could improve if teams retain talented players by remunerating them.

“If this is done fewer players will give up on the game,” Marabe said, adding that screening matches live on television could also help.

“We also need incentives like man-of-the-match awards to boost the players’ morale,” he said.

Marabe said he wanted to score at least four more goals before the end of the season.

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