Five top players to watch this year

Five top players to watch this year

MASERU – The first round of the 2017/18 Econet Premier League season was filled with entertaining matches and stand out players.
Thanks to a fresh innovation by new league sponsors Econet, players and coaches now have individual awards to fight for at the end of every month.
Each month, five players are shortlisted for the Econet premiership player of the month award.

The winner is then decided by a public vote and walks away M3 500 richer in prize money. Clearly inspired by this invention, a number of players – both new and old – shone for their respective teams in the first round to earn themselves monthly nominations.

With the second round set to resume next weekend, it is time for the league’s stars to raise their game once more. Here are five players to watch as the Econet premiership enters its business end.

Lindokuhle Phungulwa (Bantu)

The 2017 Independence Cup player of the tournament has been in fine form for the log leaders Bantu helping the Mafeteng giants keep their hopes of defending their league title alive.

Phungulwa was named September’s player of the month beating stiff competition from teammate and goalkeeper Thabo Selisa, Majantja starlet Keketso Tlhaba, Setho Moshoeshoe of Liphakoe and new Lioli sensation, Tankiso Tabi.

Phungulwa’s dazzling performances in October earned him another player of the month nomination though the winner is yet to be announced.

Tšepo Toloane (LDF)

After joining Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) from Liphakoe at the start of the 2017/18 season, the Lesotho Under-20 national team captain has flourished and proven himself to be one of the most important members of Motheo Mohapi’s team.

His contribution – from scoring to assisting goals and to elevating the team’s overall play – has helped ‘Sohle-Sohle’ climb to third place on the log.
Toloane is in line for the player of the month accolades for October and November and Mohapi will be looking to the starlet to help LDF seal their first top four finish since 2013.

Monaheng Ramalefane (Matlama)

The young Matlama goalkeeper has a bright future ahead of him. Just last weekend he once again justified why he was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the recent 2017 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA Youth Championship held in Zambia in December with a stunning display against Lioli. Ramalefane pulled off a string of fine saves to deny ‘Tse Nala’ three points at Setsoto Stadium.

Matlama may have struggled in the first round but they have one of the best defences in the country at the moment having only conceded seven goals in 11 league games. Only log leaders Bantu have conceded less (six) and Ramalefane is a big reason why Matlama have been such a tough nut to crack.
The youngster has been nominated for the December player of the month award and ‘Tse Putsoa’ will need his spider-like reflexes if they are to push for a top four place by the end of the campaign.

Tšepang Ntšenyane (Kick4Life)

Kick4Life head coach Leslie Notši speaks highly of the former Sky Battalion attacking midfielder and it is easy to see why.
Having joined the Old Europa side during the winter transfer window, Ntšenyane has been one of the stand-out performers for Kick4Life this season.

When unveiling Ntšenyane, striker Bonang Mohapi and goalkeeper Rorisang Moabi last September, Notši said he didn’t think twice about bringing the players on board given their hard work and he predicted the trio would gel well with the rest of the team.

That has certainly been the case with Ntšenyane who has October player of the month nomination to his name already.

Tankiso Tabi (Lioli)

Tabi took Lioli’s fanbase by storm on his debut at the beginning of the season and in no time ‘Tse Nala’ supporters had fallen in love with him.
Tabi’s first game was part of a memorable debut month for the skilful playmaker which landed him a nomination for the September player of the month though he ultimately lost to out Phungulwa.

On Sunday against Matlama, he came on as a substitute for Montoeli Sonopo and it did not take long for Lioli to launch attack after attack as Tabi added his unique brand of firepower.

With Lioli now under a new coach, Tabi will have to work hard to convince new boss Morena Ramorebodi he is worthy of a starting place. If he can, Lioli have a gem on their hands.

Luciah Phahla

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