Matlama enjoy extended break

Matlama enjoy extended break

Maseru – Newly-crowned Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 champions Matlama are enjoying their extended break from football. ‘Tse Putsoa’ have not kicked a ball in anger since their thrilling LNIG Top 8 final victory over Bantu at Setsoto Stadium last Sunday and, with this weekend set aside as a catch-up round in the Econet Premier League, Matlama are set to have their feet up for another week.

According to the club’s communications and marketing manager, Tankiso Moletsane, the break could not have come at a better time because ‘Tse Putsoa’ are still in a celebratory mood after their triumph against Bantu. The LNIG Top 8 success, of course, ended an agonising eight-year trophy drought for Matlama and it sparked wild celebrations at Setsoto. Moletsane said the two-week hiatus has afforded the club time to celebrate before turning their focus back to the league.

“This break came as a blessing to us and the players because we needed to celebrate our victory and we have done it in peace with no worries,” he told thepost. Moletsane said the teams’ players were given a few days off and will resume training again next week.

“By the time we get back to the field we will be over the celebrations. We have had enough time to rest,” he said. Matlama are third on the Econet Premier log with 36 points after 19 games. They are five points behind second-placed Lioli and six adrift of leaders Bantu. With five games remaining until the end of the season, ‘Tse Putsoa’ still have an outside shot of adding the league title to their 2017/18 trophy haul. However, they will need their rivals to slip up, starting with Bantu against LMPS on Saturday.

“Our aim is to win all our five remaining games and then see where that puts us on the log,” Moletsane said. “It’s no secret that we are aiming for the top spot but we are not going to put ourselves under pressure, we are going to take one game at a time; (but) we need those 15 points.”

Matlama are also hopeful their points protest against Bantu will be successful which would mean a three-point swing between the clubs. Lioli successfully won a similar case in March after Bantu were found to have used fraudulently registered players in an Econet Premiership tie between Lioli and Bantu in December. ‘Tse Nala’ were awarded the game’s three points reviving their title hopes after they had originally lost 2-1 to Bantu.

Matlama have also lodged a protest over a match against Bantu in December which ‘A Matšo Matebele’ won 4-2. The two-week break will also allow Matlama to be at full strength when they resume league duties next weekend, Moletsane said.

“Motebang Sera and Jane Thaba-Ntšo had injury scares in the LNIG Top 8 final against Bantu but we are confident both players will be fit for next week’s game,” he said.

Luciah Phahla

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