Matlama hit top form

Matlama hit top form

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Matlama coach Moses Maliehe has urged his team to remain focused following Sunday’s confidence boosting 4-0 demolition of Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) at LCS Grounds.

‘TsePutsoa’ are the only remaining unbeaten team in the league but had started the season in unconvincing fashion playing to three draws and scraping three one-goal wins in their opening six games.

However, Matlama, who finished second last season, finally hit top form on Sunday routing LCS 4-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Motebang Sera and a fine strike from PhafaTšosane.

The win immediately raised hopes around the club as Matlama aim to claim a first title since 2010.

Maliehe, though, insisted his charges are not letting one win get to their heads. He said the players need to remain focused and take each game as it comes.

“It’s not our plan that we are yet to lose a game. It’s just a matter of preparing well. If you look back, Matlama had a slow start; we won one game and drew three games. After those matches we started all over again and what you are seeing now are the end results,” Maliehe told thepost on Monday.

“The players know what they are supposed to do now. There is nothing special, the only thing we have going for us is that we are one as a team. There is no confusion over who does what. We are one team and that’s what helps us.”

Maliehe praised the team spirit within the Matlama camp.

This spirit, he said, has fuelled Matlama’s current three-match winning streak. ‘TsePutsoa’ are up to third in the Vodacom Premier League having collected 15 points from seven games. They are four points adrift of log leaders Kick4Life but have a game in hand.

Maliehe said it was now his responsibility to ensure the squad remained tuned in.

“I don’t think (the current form) will go into their heads,” he said. “If they lose their focus it will come from the coach because the players take after their coach. If you are focused as the coach the players will see that they need to be focused. I am the face of Matlama. My movements are a model for the team; the players copy what I am saying or doing and I am focusing 100 percent.”

Maliehe also lauded his squad’s youth and eagerness to improve.

“If you look at our team, it is full of young players and they are eager to learn,” Maliehe said.

He added: “As long as they are playing, pressure will always be there. We want to win all our games if possible. It is impossible (to win every game); you lose and you draw some, but our intention is to win our games.”

Dissecting Sunday’s win over LCS, Maliehe said Matlama capitalised on their opponents’ weakness on the wings.

“LCS is an awkward team; they have their own strengths and weaknesses. We knew that they are vulnerable on their right and left wings; we knew that if we isolate them, there is no cover at the back. We capitalised on that, the players did what we asked them to do,” he said.

Maliehe praised Sera’s goal haul and said he hopes it is the start of a rich vein of form for the striker. Sera was the league’s top scorer last season with 14 goals but is yet to hit the same highs this term.

Maliehe added there is enough quality in Matlama’s squad for them to go one step better than last season and claim the championship.

“We have good players. Nyepetsi (Sera) scored three goals. He had played about five games without scoring and as a striker you become frustrated if you don’t score but thank goodness he scored those three goals this past weekend and we are expecting him to score more goals,” Maliehe said.

He continued: “You look at Phafa, you look at Rasta (Kefuoe Mahula); we are talking about great players. You have Michael (Mireku) at the back, a good defender. So we have individual players who are very good.”

Matlama’s next assignment is against Lioli this Sunday but Maliehe said there are no special plans for the champions.

The meeting is a rematch of the Independence Cup final two weeks ago where Lioli edged Matlama 1-0. Lioli also pipped Matlama by one point in last year’s title race.

Nonetheless, Maliehe said Matlama have no revenge plan for ‘TseNala’.

“Our last meeting with Lioli was a cup game (and) now it’s a league game but the behaviour with which we approach the game will still be the same. There is nothing special about Lioli. Yes, they have good players but they have their weaknesses, as do we. There is no revenge plan; we are going there with an aim to win. We are going to work hard to win.”

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