Lioli shift focus to LNIG Top 8

Lioli shift focus to LNIG Top 8

Maseru – Defending Vodacom Premier League and Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 champions Lioli say they have shifted their focus to domestic duties after failing to proceed to the next round of the CAF Champions League.

‘Tse Nala’ were knocked out of Africa’s premier club competition on Sunday after a 2-1 second leg loss in Harare to Zimbabwe champions CAPS United.
The result meant Lioli exited at the preliminary stage of the Champions League for the second successive year after the sides played to a goalless draw at Setsoto Stadium two weeks ago.

Despite the disappointing defeat, Lioli say they are even more focused on Sunday’s LNIG Top 8 quarterfinal second leg against Likhopo. ‘Tse Nala’ go into the encounter with a healthy 3-0 lead.

‘Tse Nala’ arrived in the country on Tuesday and, according to their communications and marketing manager Tšeliso Lerata, the Teyateyaneng giants returned with a clean bill of health and every player is available for selection against the ‘Red Army’.

“We lost (to CAPS United) and we accept that; now we are focusing on Likhopo because we want to defend our LNIG Top 8 title,” Lerata said.
“The team arrived in the country (on Tuesday) and luckily no player sustained any injury. Now it will be up to the coach to make his selection on Sunday.”
Lerata bemoaned how Lioli conceded two second half goals to CAPS United after grabbing a promising 20th minute lead through striker Tšepo Seturumane but he insisted ‘Tse Nala’ have moved on.

“In Zimbabwe, we dominated the whole of the first half and got a goal,” Lerata said.
“Even in the second half, for at least 15 to 20 minutes, we had possession but we still conceded two goals regardless. But we are dusting ourselves (off) now and focusing on the LNIG Top 8.”

This is the third time Lioli has failed to proceed to the first round of the Champions League after previous disappointments against Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto in 2014 and Burundi’s Vital’O last year.

Lerata admitted home advantage in Zimbabwe worked in CAPS United’s favour but said: “We will come back stronger. We are eying a return to the Champions League next year.”

Luciah Phahla

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