Kick4Life looking for a piece of history

Kick4Life looking for a piece of history

MASERU – Kick4Life coach Leslie Notši believes Saturday’s Econet Premier League showdown against Lioli represents his side’s best chance of claiming their first-ever win over ‘Tse Nala’. Lioli are wobbling after a shock 1-0 loss to Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) on Sunday at home in Teyateyaneng. And, with Kick4Life enjoying their best run of the season, ‘Tse Nala’ could be ripe for another upset.
It is a detail not lost on the meticulous Notši as he prepares to face a Lioli side that along with Bantu has ruled Lesotho football for the bulk of this decade.

Kick4Life, for all their admirable achievements since their promotion to the top-flight four years ago, have never tasted victory against Lioli.
In fact, the Teyateyaneng giants are the only side Kick4Life have never beaten in the premiership.

It is why those at Old Europa are so eager for this weekend’s battle at Setsoto Stadium – it is Kick4Life’s opportunity to topple another Goliath.
Lioli, in third place in the Econet Premier League with 25 points, are yet to win in 2018.
The 2015 and 2016 champions have played two games, drawn one, lost the other, and are still searching for their first victory under new South African coach Morena Ramorebodi who took charge earlier last month.

Kick4Life, meanwhile, are coming off a 1-0 win over Likhopo on Sunday and are unbeaten in their last five league games, winning three times.
Their form has elevated them to fifth place in the Econet premiership with 23 points – only behind LDF on goal difference.
“This coming weekend we will be playing one of the best teams in the country which has a wealth of talent in terms of players; even the coach (is) coming from South Africa,” Notši said.

“I think it is going to be one of the toughest matches this year and we are looking forward to the game,” he said.
“With the way things have been going (for Lioli), we are expecting a tough encounter. We want to enjoy ourselves and see to it that we do our level best to win. We will not undermine them (but) this might be the best time to get the points from Lioli.”
To get the points Kick4Life have to overcome something of a Lioli hoodoo.

When the teams met in September in the first round of the season, Lioli hammered Kick4Life 3-1.
In fact, the last three games between the sides have produced eight goals for ‘Tse Nala’ and just two for Kick4Life. The Teyateyaneng giants have won six of the seven league meetings between the sides and the only time Kick4Life managed to salvage anything from an encounter with Lioli was a goalless draw in 2015.

So, although Saturday’s Teyateyaneng visitors are seemingly in a transition period under Ramorebodi, Notši is expecting a usual tough Lioli test.
“I can’t say their loss against LDF will have an impact,” Notši insisted.
“It may have an impact in the sense that they may be wounded tigers; they will want to win. But each match has its own merits so it will be a different ballgame altogether from their match against LDF, they will come with guns blazing.”

Still, there is plenty of incentive for Kick4Life to claim all three points – a win would see them leapfrog Lioli and into a top four place.
It would mean a return into the coveted top four club which Kick4Life broke into for the first time last season, and where they didn’t look like reaching when they were struggling for just one win in their opening four league games.
Now the Old Europa outfit are one of the league’s hottest sides.

With 11 points collected from the last 15 available points, no team has a better record in the past five matches.
“I believe it is good for us as Kick4Life to play a team of Lioli’s calibre so that we can also see how we fare,” Notši said as his charges look to establish themselves as one of Lesotho’s top clubs.

“We believe in ourselves, I believe in our players. Our self-belief is now at a level where we are satisfied as the technical team of Kick4Life,” he added.
On the injury front, Kick4Life will be without starlets Khubetsoana Kamela and Bonang Mohapi.
Kamela will be sidelined for at least another two weeks meaning both Kamela brothers will miss out on Saturday with Lioli’s Jeremia Kamela also in the treatment room.

One Kick4Life player with Lioli ties who is available is striker Nkoto Masoabi.
Masoabi, a two-time league champion with Lioli, joined Kick4Life last season and helped his new side to finish fourth. He endured a slow start to this campaign but Masoabi showed flashes of his brilliance when he scored the winner against Likhopo last time out.
Notši said he believes the hitman is nearing his best again.

“Masoabi has been working hard in training and is now giving the team the stability it needs,” Notši said.
“I think now he is getting the reward of doing what is expected. Of course, there is still a lot of room for improvement in his game but, with his attitude at this present moment, things look quite good for him.”
Kick4Life are hoping things will also look good for them as a team when the final whistle blows on Saturday afternoon.

Luciah Phahla

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