- Matlama, LCS and LDF in Top4 battle
- Nyenye, Kick4Life and Mphatlatsane in relegation scrap
The nine-time league champions go into the weekend tie—the last of the season—in fourth place on the 14-team Vodacom Premier League table but need maximum points against Nyenye at Pitso Ground to guarantee a top-four spot.
Teams which end the season in first, second, third and fourth position qualify for the Independence Cup and after failing to win the league title, Matlama would not want to miss out on this lucrative tournament.
According to Taole, the tie against Nyenye could “make or break” Matlama’s season.
“We cannot afford to lose this match; the top-four is the only thing left for us to fight for after failing to win the league championship and losing two cup finals this season,” Taole said.
“It is important that we do not underestimate Nyenye Rovers who are also fighting to remain in topflight football and our players will have to be fully focused for this very important match.”
Taole further told the Lesotho Times that he was not distracted by “rumours” that he would be fired if Matlama fail to make it into the Top4.
“This is not about me but Matlama qualifying for the top-four because we are one of the biggest teams in the country,” said Taole.
“I will not concern myself with these rumours. All I want is to help the team finish the season in a respectable position and I feel the match against Nyenye is like a Cup final to us.
“We already have one leg in this elite group, but we will have to sweat to remain in that position after leapfrogging LDF last weekend.”
Tse Putsoa could end the season in third place, behind winners Lioli and runners-up Bantu, if LCS drop points against Likhopo.
LCS lost 2-0 against Linare last weekend, and face a Likhopo side smarting from a 3-0 hammering by Lioli last Saturday.
However, LCS Public Relations Officer, Kofa Rantai, said the team was aware of the pressure from Matlama and LDF in the race for third and fourth positions and would fight to maintain their current slot.
“We have a tough match against Likhopo this weekend and need to win or we forget about finishing among the top four teams,” Rantai said.
“It is very tough at this stage, but we have a good team of experienced players and they just have to go all out to secure a win on Saturday.
“There is no easy match at this stage of the league and we just have to remain confident and do our job against Likhopo,” said Kofa, adding last weekend’s loss against Linare had “complicated matters” for the team.
LDF coach, Malefetsane Pheko, on his part, said Saturday’s match against the already relegated Highlanders would be “crucial”.
Pheko continued: “We need the three points and as many goals as we can score.
“This match is very crucial in securing a top-four place for us, so we will treat it with the respect it deserves.
“Highlanders are already relegated but can still cause problems on their day. That’s why we have to go there with a winning mentality. It will be heartbreak for us all if we fail to secure a top-four place, but we have to fight for it as LCS and Matlama are already ahead of us.”
According to Premier League General Manager, Baitsi Motsamai, all the seven last matches of the season would kick-off at 3pm on Saturday to eliminate any possibility of match-fixing.
Motsamai also confirmed Lioli, who clinched the league title last weekend, would be handed the premiership trophy, as well as gold medals for the players, after their match against Kick4Life at Setsoto stadium.
Full fixtures at a glance
Saturday: Linare v Bantu, Matlama v Nyenye, LCS v Likhopo, Mphatlatsane v Likila, Lioli v Kick4Life, Sundawana v LMPS, LDF v Qoaling Highlanders.