Notši remains defiant

Notši remains defiant

Maseru – Despite a demoralising 1-0 defeat at the hands of Vodacom Premier League champions Lioli on Sunday, Kick4Life head coach Leslie Notši remains proud of his boys.

Sunday’s match at Setsoto Stadium had been seen as a litmus test of Kick4Life’s credentials as title challengers.
The Old Europa side went into the game riding a wave of form that catapulted them into the title conversation and had some onlookers believing they could topple Lioli.
However, on a sunny afternoon at the national stadium, Notši’s side came up short thanks to Jerry Kamela’s second half strike after a loss of concentration from Kick4Life’s defence and goalkeeper Sele Thetsane.

With the result, Kick4Life are now five points behind first placed Bantu with eight games to play, still by no means out of the title race, but deflated nonetheless.
Even so, an upbeat Notši refused to allow the setback to dampen spirits and insisted his team deserved at least a point against Lioli for their efforts.
“We are a bit disappointed that we did not get maximum points or at least a draw which I think would have been a fair result but, at the same time, I am somehow quite satisfied with the way our boys conducted themselves in this game.

“They stuck to the game-plan, worked quite well, created goal-scoring chances but could not convert,” Notši said.
The former Lesotho mentor pointed out that the game was part of a learning curve for his players.

With all their recent success, it is easy to forget Kick4Life were only promoted to the Vodacom premiership in 2014.
In their debut top-flight season they finished 11th, one point above the relegation zone, before coming sixth last year following Notši’s arrival early in the campaign.
Their rapid rise has seen Kick4Life nominated for the team of the year award for the inaugural Lesotho Annual Sports Awards which will be held next Saturday.
Nevertheless, Sunday’s loss to Lioli was their second to ‘Tse Nala’ this season after a 4-1 defeat in the first round and it showed there remains some growth for Kick4Life to do if they are to officially join Lesotho’s elite tier.

“There are a lot of good attributes that we can take from this match and forward into other remaining matches,” Notši said.
“Even though we lost, well done to the boys and credit to Lioli credit for the win, they have a great team like I said last week. They showed they are a team that can absorb pressure in all aspects of the game.”

He added: “I am happy with the way the team performed. The intensity of the game, defensively they did very well. Offensively they showed there is an improvement in our play.”
Notši contended that if Kick4Life had converted at least one of the chances they created against Lioli the game could have been a different story.
“I think the anxiety level was too high for the players,” he said.

“They wanted to score as quickly as they can but we are on the growing phase as a team and competitively we are getting there with the big guns. The experience they had at the weekend is going to help us going forward. If they were a bit calmer I think they could have got one or two (goals),” Notši added.
The loss to Lioli was Kick4Life’s first loss of 2017 after they had won six straight games in all competitions to start the year.

Notši admitted his charges were downbeat as they had become accustomed to winning but said the technical team is always working to prepare the players for any disappointment so that it does not come as a shock but becomes a learning experience.

Kick4Life’s focus now switches to the next league game against Linare on Saturday in Maputsoe.
Notši’s charges are still not out of the running for the title and they are looking to cement a top four finish. Linare, on the other hand, are 11th with 17 points but claimed their first win of the year last weekend with a 3-1 victory over Butha-Buthe Warriors.

That match was the debut of new ‘Tse Tala’ coach Teele Ntšonyana and Notši said he is looking forward to meeting a potentially rejuvenated Linare side.
“That’s the kind of game we love to play, games that push us to the limit make us improve,” Notši said.
“Coach Ntšonyana is a very knowledgeable coach and I am anticipating a tough encounter. I think this is the second time in three weeks that we are playing a team that has a new coach but we are looking forward to it.”

Luciah Phahla

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