By Mikia Kalati
Premier league giants Matlama seem to be back at their best after registering two back-to-back wins in their opening two fixtures of the new season under caretaker coaches in the club’s former players Sello Seholoholo and Lehlohonolo Mokhele.
The sacking of their former mentor, Mohale Mokoena, just before the start of the new season raised eyebrows as many Matlama faithful felt that Mokoena was the right man to take the team back to its glory after a disastrous 2012/13 season.
While the likes of Bantu and Lioli were the busiest teams in the market during the off-season, Tse Putsoa were quietly doing their business, reinforcing the team for the new season.
Midfield maestro, Pali Tšalong, is back in the colours of the Sea Point based team after an unhappy spell with Bantu and has already shown signs of the player he was before leaving Matlama.
They have also managed to keep their captain, Nkau Lerotholi, who had attracted rivals Bantu and Lioli. Youngster Phafa Tšosane has continued to impress and will surely be among the players to watch during the season.
Now the big question is whether the management of the country’s most successful team should give the duo of Mokhele and Seholoholo a chance to continue to lead the team through-out the season after an impressive start to the new campaign?
There is no doubt that Matlama remain a force to reckon with in the local league, but a lot of questions were asked about the club’s ability to rise from last season’s disappointments where they failed to finish among the top four teams.
However, the caretaker coaches seem to be doing a good job and maybe it would not be a bad decision to give them a chance to prove their coaching abilities after long years of service to the club during their playing days.
This season seems to have a lot in store as Linare, who are without the league trophy for over three decades, have also had a fine start to the new season alongside league champions, Lioli.
Both Bantu and Lioli will be the teams to beat this campaign having invested over M100 000 on new players.
Meanwhile, this coming Sunday the national team, Likuena will be under the spotlight since their impressive performance at the Cosafa cup where they reached the semi-finals.
The Lesotho team have had rocky preparations leading to this tie against Sudan.
Numerous attempts to have the team in camp weeks before the trip to Sudan collapsed due to lack of funds as the Lesotho Football Association pointed fingers at the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation for failing to provide funds to the association.
Likuena coach, Leslie Notši, will also be worried about the fitness level of his star man in the World cup qualifiers campaign, Tšepo Lekhooana, as it is unclear where the player will be playing this season.
Their lanky striker is back in the country after a spell with Maluti FET College in South Africa last season and is in the middle of tug-of-war with the local side.
We all know that our team is out of contention for the Brazil tournament and they will go to Sudan just to honour the fixture, but I hope that our boys will give it their best shot and at least end the World cup qualifiers in third position as Ghana and Zambia will fight for the top spot. A lot did not go well for the team starting with the shambolic travelling arrangements that saw Likuena lose 0-7 to Ghana in June last year.
The team arrived in Kumasi less than four hours before kickoff and it was always going to be tough for our boys to compete against a team of Ghana’s quality under those conditions.
I hope that something like this will never happen to the team again.