Kick4Life ready to roll

Kick4Life ready to roll

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Kick4Life are officially ready to roll.

Just two years after gaining promotion to the Vodacom Premier League, life has changed for the Old Europa club; today Kick4Life are no longer mentioned in relegation forecasts but amongst possible trophy challengers.

This new-found status was confirmed by the fanfare of the club’s announcement of new signings for the 2016/17 campaign on Monday.

In total, eight players are now part of the ranks at Old Europa and members of a growing army commanded by former Lesotho coach Leslie Notši.

The new faces are goalkeeper Jessy Matsie from Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS), defender Sorel Ossala-Okoko from Bantu, Bokang Mothoana, Sefuli Ntoi and Tšeliso Sejake from Likhopo, Mokateli Mohapi and Nkopane Mokitimi from Tšenola United, free agent signing Motlatsi Boseka as well as Thabiso Brown who has completed a permanent move after spending last season on loan from Sky Battalion.

In addition, Chindo Shoniwa and Tšepang Bulane have been promoted from the club’s development.

The signings offer important markers for the team’s future prospects.

Firstly, it is clear Kick4Life are now a viable destination for the league’s top players as illustrated by the signing of Mothoana, one of Lesotho’s premier footballers for the past decade.

However, just as important is the club’s continued commitment to youth as shown by their signings of Mohapi, Mokitimi, Shoniwa and Bulane.

It is why Kick4Life are an intriguing pick for the 2016/17 season.

Last season they finished sixth in the league, improving from 11th in their debut top-flight campaign in 2014/15. Many onlookers see further improvement because of Kick4Life’s consistent approach and their pre-season business certainly left Notši a smiling man at Monday’s unveiling.

“I think we are ready for the new season,” Notši said. “We had a great pre-season. I think everyone is ready, everyone is up to the task and we are ready for the challenge that lies ahead.”

“We want to improve on last season’s performance and maintain our position in the league.”

He continued: “We are a very new team in the league. We have only three years (in the league) and we want to grow. We can only grow with the support of the fans. We are also trying to attract youths to the club. That will help them to stay away from a lot of things that are not good for them.”

Notši expressed delight that the club has addressed several key areas but there remains one department he feels needs strengthening.

Kick4Life only scored 24 goals in their 26 league games last season. Only last year’s debutants Liphakoe and Rovers and the relegated duo of Likila United and Mphatlalatsane found the net fewer times.

It is why Kick4Life continue to be linked with moves for several strikers, including Lioli hitman Nkoto Masoabi.

“We want to improve our first line of attack,” Notši admitted. “There are players that we are looking and watching very closely.”

For now Notši can at least rely on Likuena striker Thabiso Brown who had welcome but unsuccessful trials at Ukrainian Premier League side Chornomorets Odesa last month.

Speaking at Monday’s player unveiling at the club’s headquarters, Kick4Life director of football Chris Bullock said he hoped Brown would have more chances abroad.

“It’s a big step up. It is difficult to get a contract in Europe, but the report I got from the player himself and his agent is that he had successful trials,” Bullock said.

“He scored goals but unfortunately they could not offer him a contract and I hope there can be other opportunities for him in future.”

For his part, Brown called his time in Ukraine a valuable learning curve.

“Football in Europe is very professional, it’s faster than here. Here it’s a little bit slow but I gained a lot of experience and I will use it to help the club score goals,” he said.

Those goals would be a welcome cherry on top to what became a solid unit after Notši took over last November.

Under Notši, Kick4Life became one of the hardest teams to beat in the Vodacom Premier League.

In fact, following Notši’s arrival, only Lioli, Matlama and LCS won more points than Kick4Life. In that period the Old Europa club lost just four times in 15 matches.

The question now, as the season beckons, is how high Kick4Life can soar in the 2016/17 campaign.

“We are looking to progress,” Bullock said. “The top six was a great achievement for us last season, however, we are looking to consolidate our position and improve our performance.”

“We want to do better than last season without putting pressure on the coach and the players.”

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