THE new Premier League season will roar into life this Saturday as defending champions Bantu begin their title defence against new boys Sefotha-fotha at Maputsoe DIFA Ground.
The second of the two matches that will kick-off the new season is between the country’s most decorated side, Matlama, who will take to the field against Liphakoe at LCS Ground.
Matlama coach, Seephephe Matete, is confident that his charges will be more competitive this season after reinforcing the squad in the off-season.
Tse Putsoa signed Nzenze Nkulu from Bantu on the back of his impressive 17 goal harvest for Linare where he spent last season on loan.
Teboho Lilane also joined from Bantu on a season-long loan deal while Lisema Lebokolloane has returned from an academic loan spell at Lerotholi Polytechnic.
“I am very happy with the preparations that we had and the postponement of the start of the season also gave us more time,” Matete said.
The veteran coach also said he is happy with the new acquisitions, adding it was normal for any team to reinforce prior to the start of a new campaign.
“I am excited with the new additions but they still have to adapt.
“We only tested them in friendly matches and the league is a completely different ball game altogether.”
The former Likuena coach, who is also a Matlama icon from his playing days, said he hoped his charges would be more competitive as he had a pre-season with them unlike in the previous campaign when he only joined the club in mid-season.
“It is always important for any coach to have a pre-season with the team to gauge the players’ level of fitness, technical abilities as well as the mental strength.
“It’s all in our hands because we also reinforced the team where we felt there were weaknesses.
“Last season we were conceding goals in almost every game and I hope that the new additions will help us become more compact.
“In Nkulu, we have a player that score goals. All in all I am happy with our preparations and the strength in our squad.”
Meanwhile, Bantu coach, James Madidilane, said his side was on a mission to defend the championship they worked so hard to win last season.
“We have prepared very well but I am not happy with the numbers of players that we brought in.
“We have not been able to reinforce our squad the way we wanted, but we are ready for the opening match,” Madidilane said.
The South African who won the league in his first year with the club said losing key players was part and parcel of the game and wished Lilane and Thabiso Mohapi well at their new clubs Matlama and Lioli respectively.
“You should expect the unexpected every season, and we had to decide whether to release Lilane or just loan him out.
“As for Mohapi, the issue was beyond our control but those that we have will do the work for us.
“We have also brought in Tsietsi Motšeare who did very well at his former club and brings some energy into our team.
“We cannot cry over the players that have left the team but we wish them well. Football is like that all the time.”
On Sunday, LCS host LMPS and the police outfit is set to unleash the new faces such as Relebohile Mabone and Tšepo Seturumane.
New boys Majantja host Linare in Mohale’s Hoek while former champions Lioli welcome Sandawana to Setsoto stadium.
Kick4Life will face off with the new look Rovers while Likhopo entertain LDF.
Premier League fixtures:
Matlama v Liphakoe
Sefotha-fotha v Bantu
LCS v LMPS
Lioli v Sandawana
Majantja v Linare
Likhopo v LDF
Kick4Life v Sky Battalion