The best players for 2020
THE Econet Premier League has been out of action since mid-March when the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) halted all football activities on the back of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
When the league went into the prolonged break, Bantu were three wins away from reclaiming the coveted title. The side had collected 50 points from 18 matches while the defending champions, Matlama, were in second place with 34 points from 18 matches.
Before the break, a few players had enjoyed outstanding seasons with just eight matches to go. Below is an analysis of some of the players.
Litšepe Marabe: A Matšo Matebele have enjoyed a great season under the tutelage of Bob Mafoso with Litšepe Marabe being one of the most influential players in the squad this season.
The left footed midfielder is also topping the goal scoring chats with 14 goals and has been vital for Mafoso’s side as its captain.
Marabe scored some important goals for Bantu and the side will surely look up to him in the next three matches to bag the title when the league resumes.
Jane Thabantšo: Matlama has had a poor season under new coach Charles Manda. In fact, the side has increasingly seen its chances of retaining the title slither away with each game. But no one can understate the role that Thabantšo has played for his side.
Thabantšo has been the side’s most influential player rescuing the team on several occasions. He has 11 goals to his name to prove his worth.
He will however, be faced with a mammoth task when the league returns as his side hopes to pounce on any mistakes by log leaders, Bantu.
Kopano Tseka: The Mpitsa Marai coached LCS has been largely inconsistent this season despite its huge potential. But even in its lethargic showing, the impact player for the side must be the club’s new acquisition from Lioli, Tseka who has been a pillar in defence.
The Likuena defender has been enjoying a stellar season with Masheshena and has brought some balance into the side’s defence partnering with veteran Poloko Mohale or Lehlohonolo Moabi.
Monyatheli Ntobo: LMPS was enjoying a good run before the break and has a good chance of finishing the season in the top eight.
Their young striker Monyatheli Ntobo has been dishing out some good performances and has been a menace for most defenders this season. It was no surprise seeing national team coach Thabo Senong calling him for national duty.
The Mazenod born striker will be expected to carry on from where he left off when league action resumes. His goal-scoring abilities will be vital to help Itumeleng ‘Metso’s charges to book a spot in the LNIG Top8 competition for next season.
Swirtbirth Kum: Lioli are also having a rough season especially on the back of the chopping and changing of coaches. The great trek in the team’s executive has only worsened the situation. However, Cameroonian striker, Kum, has remained a glimmer of hope for the side with his ability to terrorise defenders.
While Kum has been a nightmare to many defenders this season, I still believe he can still offer a lot than what he has done this season. He is obviously faced with a difficult task to help the six-time league champions secure a place in the top four and qualify for the Independence Cup.
John Mofokeng: The Econet Premier League new boys, Lifofane have been a surprise package to many rightly earning themselves the giant killers tag as they frustrated giants like Matlama and Lioli.
The skipper, Mofokeng, has been one of the hottest league prospects and has nine league goals to prove it in his debut season in the elite league.
Lifofane has bigger chances of making it into the top eight in its first season in the Econet Premier League and Mofokeng will be expected to continue with his magic to help the Butha-Buthe outfit reach its dream.
Makhabane Mpeli, Siyabonga Mkhize: Linare had a poor start to the season under Freeze Ntene who was later suspended leaving Moses Ramafole in charge of the team. The situation immediately changed for the better.
Winger Mpeli and attacking midfielder Mkhize have been influential in their respective roles and helped Linare to a staggering five-game winning streak.
The duo will also be vital when the league returns as Ramafole will be hoping to help the team qualify for the Independence Cup for the first time after four seasons.
Koete Mohloai and Tšepo Toloane: LDF’s midfield duo of Mohloai and Toloane have been exemplary for the Motheo Mohapi coached outfit this season. The duo’s outstanding performances have been the silver lining in the largely inconsistent showing. Although the side has been affected by injuries, the duo has held the fort for the inconsistent team.
Mohapi will be hoping that the duo will continue its resplendent showing when the action resumes with the hope that the team can finish in the top eight.
Thabiso Mari: Under the guidance of Halemakale Mahlaha, Likhopo has looked a better side this season. The side was ninth when the league went into the break and there is no doubt that they are hoping to finish inside the top half of the league.
Mari, has been lethal in front of goal and has so far scored nine in the league.
He will shoulder big responsibilities of ensuring that the Red Army indeed fulfills its dream of finishing in the top eight with eight matches remaining.
Johannes Molapo: The Old Europa outfit has blown hot and cold this season. The side first started the season under the tutelage of Katiso Mojakhomo who was later sacked after a string of dismal results. He was replaced by former assistant Paul Westren.
For a team that has consistently finished in the top eight in the last three seasons, it has hugely appeared a far-fetched dream for anyone to expect the team to replicate its form especially after Mafoso’s departure to Bantu.
However, in the murky performances, Molapo have kept the side’s hopes for better prospects.
Mathoho, as Molapo is popularly known, will be faced with a mammoth task especially after the release of his central defending partner Innocent Matlapeng whose contract has ended. He will have to once again show his leadership skills and help Westren’s charges obtain a top eight finish.
Ntema Mocoane: Liphakoe endured a poor start to the season remained a permanent feature in the relegation zone. The side however, turned a new leaf when Teele Ntšonyana was appointed the new head coach in January. The side was two places off the relegation zone when the league went for the break.
South African striker Mocoane has been handy for Liphakoe scoring some crucial goals to help the team move from the relegation zone.
Mocoane will still have a lot to offer for Ntšonyana when the season resumes in order to help the team keep their premier league status.
Mohau Mothibeli: Sefotha-fotha has struggled and it is no surprise that they are just one place out of the relegation zone after firing the coach Molebatsi Mothobi early this year.
Sehenehene captain, Mothibeli, has been their impact player and a lot will be expected from him when league returns.
Retšelisitsoe Mopeli: League debutants, Lijabatho, had a poor start under Motolo Makepe, who was later on axed and was replaced by former Lioli and Matlama coach Thabile Secker.
Lijabatho are second from the bottom and there is no doubt now their only target is to fight to keep their place in the elite league. Striker Retšelisitsoe Mopeli has been their impact player and has scored eight goals. He is expected to deliver more and help his side remain in the league.
Mohau Khali: Khali has been outstanding for Swallows although nothing has changed for the side that survived relegation by a whisker last season. It was always going to be difficult for Swallows.
The situation has been worsened by the constant chopping and changing of coaches.
While Khali is undoubtedly the impact player, he must work on his discipline on the pitch.