Matlama eye Top 8 semis

Matlama eye Top 8 semis

MASERU – Defending Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 champions Matlama hold a slight 1-0 advantage over Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) heading into this weekend’s quarter-final deciders.

‘Tse Putsoa’ scraped past LMPS in last Saturday’s first leg at Setsoto Stadium and Matlama coach Thabile Secker said it is important for the reigning champions to work “even harder” on Sunday in order to seal progression to the semi-finals.
Secker admitted ‘Simunye’ caught his side by surprise with their first leg performance and although Matlama managed to survive the onslaught and take a 1-0 victory from the game, he said it is important for ‘Tse Putsoa’ to prepare thoroughly for the decider in Maputsoe using the information gained from the first leg.

“These games are different because they are cup games,” Secker said.
“If you lose the first game you can prepare hard enough to win the second and make it to the top, so we are going to work hard for the coming game.

We saw (LMPS’s) strengths and weaknesses from league games but they came to our game completely changed leaving us with no other option except preparing to fight this coming weekend,” he added.

Secker said he is aware Sunday’s second leg will be a difficult game and he urged his players to be at their best to get a win and proceed.
Another team that will need a big second leg performance is Lioli.

Like Matlama, ‘Tse Nala’ hold a 1-0 advantage over Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) from their first leg and assistant coach Mosholi Mokhothu admitted they have to bury the return game early by being clinical in front of goal.

Lioli beat ‘Masheshena’ at the Maputsoe DiFA Ground on Sunday and the return is on Saturday at Setsoto.
Speaking to thepost on Tuesday, Mokhothu said the 2016 and 2017 LNIG Top 8 champions will be focused on securing a win.
“Today (Tuesday) we are starting practice sessions and reviewing if there are injuries from the last game; maybe we will even see the line-up (for the second leg) after the review,” Mokhothu said.

“We are preparing to win the game; we are not under pressure in terms of goals especially because we are trying to get the team back to where it’s known as far as performances are concerned,” he added.

“What we are working on is preparing our players’ mind-set so that they go out and perform well so that we win the cup. Cup games are not easy because teams change their performance time and again so we cannot say we saw (LCS’s) weaknesses (in the first leg) therefore we will win,” Mokhothu said.

Things are similarly tight in the quarterfinal between Kick4Life and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) after the first leg ended in a goalless draw meaning the tie is wide open. The sides will decide who goes through to the semi-finals when they meet on Saturday at Setsoto.
The only side whose progression is all but sealed is Bantu who thrashed Majantja 3-0 in the first leg. Majantja will need a miracle to cause an upset against ‘A Matšo Matebele’ in Sunday’s second leg in Maputsoe.

Nkheli Liphoto

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