Lesotho’s 2013/14 football season came to an end this past weekend, with Bantu deservedly being crowned Premier League champions, ending an 87-year drought for the big prize.
Of course, this was a very entertaining and interesting season to the very end, with many twists and turns which made it a really memorable year.
With the end-of-season up awards coming up in the next few weeks, my focus is on players who hogged the headlines for the right reasons inside the field of play.
Linare captain, Mabuti Potloane, was one of those players who had a terrific season and was very influential as the Hlotse-based side proved to be a very tough opponent, reaching the final of the LNIG Top8, while also giving league champions Bantu and Lioli, a run good for their money.
Potloane led by example to the very end and scored important goals for Tse Tala, as the team came so close to ending their three-decade wait for a major trophy.
The midfielder has also shown the potential to be among the best players in Lesotho and shone in a Linare side which does not have many big-name players.
Potloane managed to prove his class week in and week out and was surely among the best three players in the Premier League this campaign.
Another player who had a special season and proved his qualities was Bantu’s hardman, Tšoloane Mosakeng.
The midfield workhorse has always been reliable and consistent for his team and was a key figure for Motlatsi Shale’s side that clinched the league title with four games to spare.
Mosakeng, an old-fashioned Number 6, had a fantastic season doing the dirty work for the Mafeteng-based side, playing as a holding-midfielder just in front of the back-four.
This position is very important in modern football and it did not come as a surprise that Bantu only suffered their first loss of the season with the league title already in the bag.
Mosakeng’s versatility is also another advantage for his team as, during suspensions and injuries, he was called to play in defence which he did without any problem.
Just like Potloane, Mosakeng is a disciplined player who prefers to do the talking on the field of play.
In-fact, there are lots of candidates in the Bantu side which won the double — the Independence Cup and league title — this season.
Captain, Tlali Maile, also played a vital role as Bantu finally ended their long wait for the biggest prize in domestic football.
Maile was among many of the big names Bantu signed after winning promotion to the Premier League five seasons ago.
His leadership qualities will always be an advantage to any team, and has so far helped the club to three back-to-back Independence Cup titles and continues to perform at his best game after game.
Maile is among very few defenders who regularly find the back of the net from open play while he has also become a penalty-kick specialist.
The arrival of Thabo Masualle, who joined from Lioli at the start of the season, also worked wonders for Maile and the two formed a solid partnership that saw their team only lose once the entire 2013/14 season.
Though Lioli have failed to defend their league title, I feel Tšoanelo Koetle had a fantastic season and Tse Nala were not the same side without him.
He has consistently proved his qualities as one of the best players in this country and was very influential as the Teyateyaneng-based side won the LNIG Top8 and were unlucky to have failed to defend their league title.
Koetle’s maturity has seen him being named among the captains for Likuena by interim coach, Seephephe ‘Mochini’ Matete.
The Tšenola-born utility player has also become a dead-ball specialist which has seen him score good goals from set-pieces.
His teammate and defender Basia Makepe also had a special season in his first season at the TY outfit.
Makepe is a very talented defender with good vision while his marking is also very solid.
Just like Maile, he has an eye for goal and scored more than five goals this term.
Makepe was brought in to fill the big boots of Masualle, who joined Lioli rivals Bantu and was able to do that without any worries.
Linare winger, Lebajoa Mosehlenyane, also had a good season, although I feel there are many aspects of his game that still need to be improved.
Mosehlanyane and Potloane were the best performers for Linare this season and though there is nothing to show at the end, they will both be very key for this team going forward.
As for the coaches, there is no doubt that Motlatsi Shale was head-and-shoulders above the rest this season.
Shale arrived at Bantu at the start of the season with the responsibility to help A Matšo Matebele to their first league title.
That mandate looked impossible after the five opening fixtures, with his side struggling to win matches, while defending champions Lioli were on fire.
But he was able to turn the tables and made Bantu the best team in the country.
The former Likuena marksman managed to get the best out of his squad and once Bantu got into their rhythm, they could not be stopped.
Below is my Premier League Team-of-the-Year:
Goalkeeper: Liteboho Mokhesi (Bantu)
Defenders: Right back-Sepiriti Malefane (Likhopo); left back- Thapelo Mokhehle (Bantu); central defenders-Thabo Masualle (Bantu), Basia Makepe (Lioli)
Midfielders: Tšoanelo Koetle (Lioli), Tšoloane Mosakeng (Bantu), Mabuti Potloane (Linare), Lebajoa Mosehlenyane (Linare)
Strikers: Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Tsebang Lebata (Bantu).