Lifofane in dream start

Lifofane in dream start

MASERU – Newly-promoted Lifofane are living the dream in the Econet Premier League and their fantasy continued on Sunday with a stunning 2-1 victory over champions Matlama in Butha-Buthe. While the loss painfully dented Matlama’s chances of defending their title Lifofane were celebrating throughout the night.
The win lifted Lifofane to an improbable third place spot in the league, above Tse Putsoa, as the Butha-Buthe side added another big scalp to a list that also includes a 3-1 triumph over second-placed Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) in October.
It is quite a story.

Lifofane, in their first ever top-flight season, were widely tipped as favourites to go straight back down and their start has surpassed even their wildest dreams.
According to the club’s spokesperson, Leqheku Seshoalela, Lifofane’s plan at the beginning of the season was to collect 20 points from their 13 first round games.
With three matches to go until the mid-season break, they have already amassed 18 points. Only first placed Bantu, with 25 points, have a better haul than Lifofane.

“When the season started we planned to collect as many points as possible in the first round because we know the second round is going to be very difficult for us,” Seshoalela said.
“The plan at the beginning of the season was to be in the top eight by the end of the first round because we believed by doing that it would be impossible to get relegated. We targeted 20 points, but we have 18 (points) now and there are still games to play in the first round,” he added.

With their flying start Lifofane are also bucking a trend of Butha-Buthe teams that have drowned in the premiership recently.
Since 2012, Maduma, Likila United, Sundawana and Butha-Buthe Warriors have come into the elite league, faded away and never been heard from again.
As things stand, Lifofane will not only survive the drop, they are on course to seal a top eight place at the least.

“We sat down with teams from Butha-Buthe to learn about the mistakes they made when they got relegated and we planned on that to ensure we don’t repeat them,” Seshoalela said.
Their home field form at Butha-Buthe Pitso Ground has been one key difference for Lifofane.
Lifofane have won three of their five home matches and have lost just once in Butha-Buthe this season. Conversely, away from home they have only scored just twice in five games.
Lifofane’s home form:
15/09/19 Lifofane 0-1 Linare
29/09/19 Lifofane 1-0 Lijabatho
27/10/19 Lifofane 3-1 LCS
24/11/19 Lifofane 1-1 Swallows
01/12/19 Lifofane 2-1 Matlama

It is a similar formula for success Lifofane used in last season’s memorable promotion campaign in which they went unbeaten in Butha-Buthe all season.
Seshoalela said while Lifofane coach, Bafokeng Mosala, is working tirelessly to ensure winning doesn’t go to the players’ heads, the club is making sure to enjoy their moment in the Econet Premier League.

Playing champions Matlama was another day to remember as the upstart Butha-
Buthe outfit lined up against a team filled with Lesotho internationals.
“We had a good game against Matlama but you could still tell their players were superior to ours,” Seshoalela said.
“They have the likes of Jane (Thaba-Ntšo), Phafa (Tšosane) and you could tell by the runs they were making that they are good players while ours were still learning, but we won and we were happy.”

“We played friendly matches against (South African side) Free State Stars (last month) and they beat us 2-1,” Seshoalela added.
“I think that gave us confidence that we can beat the likes of Matlama if a team like Free State Stars can (only) beat us 2-1.”
With success, however, comes more attention.

Seshoalela said he is already dreading the January transfer windows with the Econet Premier League’s big guns already said be monitoring Lifofane’s top performers such as midfielders Velaphe Monaheng and John Mofokeng and goalkeeper Tšilo Tšilo.

“Teams are going to strengthen in January and for a small club like us we already know we are going to lose players to teams that are bigger (than us),” Seshoalela said.
“We know that the teams that are behind us might strengthen and they may catch us if we lose our games. That is why we are working so hard now because we know second round is going to be very difficult.”

Tlalane Phahla

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