Lioli ‘warm up’ for Matlama

Lioli ‘warm up’ for Matlama

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Lioli communications and marketing manager Tšeliso Lerata has called Kick4Life “preparation” for Lioli’s mega clash against Matlama.

The champions face Kick4Life on Saturday at Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Ground in a must-win game as they go head-to-head in the battle for the title with ‘Tse Putsoa’.

Lerata insisted Lioli will respect Kick4Life but admitted ‘Tse Nala’ already have one eye on the meeting with rivals Matlama next weekend.

“We respect Kick4Life, they are a premier league team and there is no small team but we are going to win the game and take three points as we are preparing for the big one against Matlama. We are winning the league next week after we beat Matlama, that’s the game we are looking forward to,” Lerata told thepost yesterday.

Lioli and Kick4Life met in November and the game ended in a goalless draw, a result Lerata lamented.

“We played with them (Kick4Life) in the first round and we should have won that game, we had all the ball possession. I could give them 10 percent (ball possession) and give Lioli 90 percent, but we failed to win it,” he said.

Lerata revealed Tumelo Khutlang is doubtful for the Kick4Life match but said it would be good for the club if he the exciting winger rests as they need all their best players next week.

“Makhopo is the only doubt for this game; he was taken to Bloemfontein yesterday to see a doctor. I personally would love to see him rest this weekend and come back for the game against Matlama,” Lerata said.

Kick4Life’s striker Thabiso Brown, however, sent a chilling warning to the defending champions insisting the Old Europa club is also looking to secure maximum points this weekend.

Kick4Life, in sixth place with 31 points, are looking to secure their first ever top eight finish.

Under the tutelage of former Lesotho mentor Leslie Notši, they appear well poised to do so.

Notši was appointed as Kick4Life’s coach last November after a stint with South African National First Division (NFD) outfit Mthatha Bucks and a successful tenure as Likuena boss.

Brown said Notši’s tactical experience has translated to the team and he said Lioli also have weaknesses which can be exploited.

“Of course they (Lioli) are a good team, but we have studied them. We know our opponents. We know their weaknesses and we will be looking to exploit them,” he said.

For his part, Notši insisted the points his side have collected are not enough and he stressed the importance of winning their remaining matches.

If Kick4Life are to halt a free-scoring Lioli outfit, much will depend on the central defensive duo of Mbo Mukete and captain Thamahane Moruti.

Notši, however, said there will be no special preparation for the game against ‘Tse Nala’ and he encouraged his charges to enjoy the moment.

“Lioli are very good team performance-wise and we just want to go play and enjoy our game. They are the defending champions and pressure is on them not us. However, we will give them the respect they deserve. Playing against a big team like Lioli is an opportunity for us and I will tell my boys to go and enjoy the moment,” Notši said.

Kick4Life will be without Morapeli Lesoetsa who received his matching orders against Likila United last Saturday. Notši said Lesoetsa was carrying a slight injury and called the red card a blessing in disguise for Lesoetsa.

“I think the red card came at the right time. It will help him rest and the two weeks that he will be out he will be nursing his injury and will be back for our last two games. It gives him time to heal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Matlama’s communications and marketing manager Tankiso Moletsane has warned his team not to take Liphakoe for granted ahead of the sides’ clash on Saturday.

“We are focused on Liphakoe now, we want to win this game, and then we can focus on Lioli,” he said.

Lerata also extolled Matlama’s midfield and strikers. He said their form is the reason the club is confident about claiming league honours.

“If you look at Matlama, from midfield to our strikers, that’s where we are very dangerous. Look at the top goal-scorers in the league, they are all Matlama players which means we are scoring goals,” he beamed.

Weekend Vodacom Premier League fixtures:

Saturday      

Matlama vs. Liphakoe (TBC)

Likila United vs. LDF (Butha-Buthe)

Rovers vs. LCS (Roma)

Kick4Life vs. Lioli (LCS Ground)

Sunday

Mphatlalatsane vs. LMPS (MaputsoeDiFA Stadium)

Bantu vs. Linare (LCS Ground)

Sandawana vs. Likhopo (Butha-Buthe)

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