By Mikia Kalati
MASERU –– Resurgent Nyenye Rovers are hoping to cause an upset and complete a Premier League double over inconsistent Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) when the two teams clash at the Ratjomose Barracks on Saturday.
Rovers currently occupy ninth position on the 14-team Premiership log and go into Saturday’s match just three places but seven points below their seasoned opponents. Nyenye are on 18 points after 16 matches, while LDF have 25 points from 15 fixtures.
After winning the first round tie 3-1 at home, Nyenye Rovers team manager, Hopolang Ntšeli is confident his side will complete a rare double over the army side come Saturday.
“We shocked them in the first round by winning 3-1. The plan is to complete the mission with another upset over LDF, thereby consolidating our position in the league,” Ntšeli said.
Ntšeli blamed last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Linare on bad luck, insisting the Maputsoe-based Rovers would not be intimidated by any team as they are no longer the whipping boys of last season.
“We are faring far much better this time around compared to the previous year when we were at the wrong end of the table at the end of the season. But the team is still not safe; that is why we desperately need the three points against LDF.
“After last weekend’s loss against Linare, we want to quickly bounce back and what better way to do so than against the former league champions,” said Ntšeli.
However, LDF coach, Malefetsane Pheko, told the Lesotho Times the Rovers match is coming at the wrong time for the Maputsoe side because his charges are on a mission to collect maximum points in every match.
Sohle-Sohle, as LDF are affectionately known, held table-toppers Bantu to a one-all draw last Saturday and Pheko believes his team were unlucky not to have comfortably won the match.
“We are on a mission to go up the table and that can only happen if we win matches. So Nyenye Rovers are coming at the wrong time because we are looking at nothing less than maximum points in all our matches,” said Pheko.
Pheko, who took over from long-time coach Motheo Mohapi at the beginning of this year, also said he was happy with the progress of his team.
“We have a group of youngsters who were thrown at the deep end, but they are slowly adapting and the results will soon prove that they are good players.”
Meanwhile, Pheko revealed star-midfielder, Molefe Lekoekoe, is expected to start against Rovers after only playing the second half of the match against Bantu last Saturday.
“He is back with the team and in good spirits after playing for the national team at the weekend. I’m confident that as a senior player, he will play an important role in the team this season,” he said.
Full weekend fixtures
Saturday: LDF v Nyenye, Melele v Qoaling Highlanders, LMPS v Lioli
Sunday: Matlama v Mpharane Celtic, LCS v Bantu, Mphatlalatsane v Likhopo, Linare v Joy.