LCS coach deflated

LCS coach deflated

LuciahPhahla

Maseru

Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) coach MpitsaMarai was a disappointed man after his side’s 1-0 loss to Lioli in the final of the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 last Sunday at Setsoto stadium.

‘Masheshena’ were downed by Jeremea Kamela’s sublime second half free-kick and afterwards Marai felt his charges could have won the M100 000 grand prize.

According to Marai, LCS matched Lioli stride-for-stride but could not utilise their goal-scoring opportunities.

“We played well and we created chances, unfortunately we missed our chances. I think it was 50/50. We created as much chances as they did. I am happy with the performance of my players, they played according instructions. When you reach the final the aim is to win and I am disappointed, I thought we would win this one. It’s disappointing to lose,” Marai said after the final.

Marai’s consolation was being named coach of the tournament and walking away with M2000 after masterminding LCS’s run to the final which included knocking out reigning champions Bantu in the semi-finals.

The final itself was an exciting affair.

The atmosphere at Setsoto was suited for a cup final and the weather was forgiving. Both LCS and Lioli started well, pressing on the attack and creating chances from the get-go. However, both defences held firm and the first half ended goalless.

‘Masheshena’ winger Thabo Seakhoa was one of the top performers all weekend and he kept Lioli’s defence busy and his endeavours were unlucky not to yield a goal.

At the other end, Sehloho Motsamai helped keep LCS’s defence firm.

However, as the second half wore on, Lioli’s higher levels of match fitness and experience proved to be critical as they began to probe more menacingly, forcing LCS to commit fouls in dangerous zones.

It was perhaps unsurprising, that the cup-winning goal came from a free-kick after Masheshena were hounded into giving away another risky foul outside the box.

With the game in the balance, Kamela stepped up and fired a strike that was simply too good for goalkeeper Samuel Ketsekile.

Lioli coach Mosholi Mokhothu applauded his team afterwards.

It was their second win over LCS in three weeks after beating them 1-0 in a similarly crucial league game. Mokhothu said he knew Masheshena was not going to make life easy.

“It is not easy to beat one team twice, we played them in the league and won, so we knew this game was never going to be easy at all,” he said.

“Planning against LCS is not easy and we plan quite different for them because tactically they are much more disciplined. But, I am really happy we won,” he added.

Kamela’s wonder goal was chosen as the LNIG Top 8 goal of the tournament earning him M1 000 in addition to another M1000 for his man of the match award win the final.

But, that wasn’t all for the midfielder. Kamela bagged the player of the tournament award and M3000, which brought his weekend winnings to M5000.

Lioli striker Nkoto Masoabi, a scorer of a brace in the 5-0 semi-final thrashing of Lesotho Defence Force, shared the top goal-scorer award with Sandawana hit-man Raboama Koloti. Each striker received M1500.

Lioli’s stopper Kananelo Makhooane walked away with M2000 after he was named the goalkeeper of the tournament while Lebalang Mokete was named referee of the tournament.

The biggest winners, however, were Lioli who walked away with a trophy and a whopping M100 000.

thepost’s LNIG Top 8 Team of the tournament:

Goalkeeper:Kananelo Makhooane (Lioli)

Makhooane was questioned when he moved to Lioli at the start of the season because he was joining a team that already boasted Lesotho internationals Liteboho Mokhehle and Mohau Kuenane. However, the former Likhopo shot-stopper has proved critics wrong and staked a claim in Lioli’s starting line-up. He kept clean-sheets in the semi-final and final and was a safe pair of hands throughout the tournament.

Defenders:SehlohoMotsamai (LCS), Bokang Sello, Basia Makepe and Kopano Tseka (Lioli)

LCS right-back Motsamai constantly intercepted Lioli’s attacks in the final and ensured his side’s defence remained secure. Lioli could have scored more than one goal but were constantly denied by the defender.

Lioli’s rock-solid defence only leaked three goals throughout the entire tournament and kept LCS’s forwards at bay in the final. Sello, Makepe and Tseka all make thepost’s dream team and club-mate Mafa Moremoholo may feel hard done-by to be left out.

Midfielders:Jeremea Kamela, Tšoanelo Koetle (Lioli), Hlompho Kalake (Bantu) Thabo Seakhoa (LCS)

Without Seakhoa, ‘Masheshena’ are not the same team. The winger was the most influential player for LCS throughout the LNIG Top 8 and he inspired them to the final.

Strikers:Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli), Raboama Koloti (Sandawana)

Masoabi and Koloti shared the top goal-scorer award and they were the most dangerous strikers on show. Sandawana may have been knocked out in the quarterfinals, but Koloti was the best performer for the Butha-Buthe side scoring three goals in two games.

Coach: Mpitsa Marai (LCS)

Substitutes:

Isaiah Mosala (Bantu), Molefe Lekoekoe (LDF), Montoeli Sonopo, Bushy Moletsane, Tumelo Khutlang (Lioli), Paul Moloi (LDF) Lieta Lehloka (LCS)

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