Pre-season preps did the trick: Mokhothu

Pre-season preps did the trick: Mokhothu

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Lioli coach Mosholi Mokhothu has praised the side’s preparations calling it the decisive factor in the club’s thrilling 2015/2016 Vodacom Premier League triumph.

Lioli were crowned champions for a second year running after coming from behind to defeat Linare 2-1 last Saturday at Setsoto Stadium.

The result, inspired by a Tumelo Khutlang brace, meant ‘Tse Nala’ pipped rivals Matlama to the league title by one point.

Speaking amidst wild celebrations, Mokhothu attributed Lioli’s success to a good pre-season.

The tactician also credited the club’s sojourn into the African Champions League where Lioli narrowly lost to Burundi’s Vital’O in March and said the team will continue reinforcing their squad for next season.

“It has been an interesting season. If you remember, we were not on top of the log from the beginning of the season but we went on top before the Christmas break and won our games,” he said.

“We had a really good preseason to prepare for this season and I also think the Champions League helped us a lot even though we were not happy with being knocked at the first stage,” Mokhothu added.

Lioli went into last Saturday’s season’s finale on tenterhooks after a goalless draw with Rovers two weekends ago allowed Matlama back into the picture.

Mokhothu admitted the result against Rovers dented the spirit in the club but thanked the team’s fans for their support. He said they sourced psychologists before their decider against Linare which allowed the players to go into the clash with clear heads.

“(The draw with Rovers) really disturbed us a little bit but we sat down and talked about it,” he disclosed.

He continued: “I would like to thank some of the supporters who sourced psychologists for us. We came to this game (against Linare) with clear minds after we met some psychologists who did a wonderful job. Our players have experience and the pool of players we had this season helped us a lot during the season especially with red cards and injuries.”

With the championship secured, the focus has shifted to Mokhothu’s future. Mokhothu has now masterminded four of Lioli’s five titles in club history having led ‘Tse Nala’ to glory in 2009, 2013, 2015 and this year.

With his contract ending next month, Lioli supporters are understandably edgy. However, Mokhothu refused to comment on his future at the club.

“I don’t like talking about this. I always sign one year contracts at Lioli every year, I don’t know why. My contract comes to an end in June and there haven’t been any talks. I don’t know whether I will continue or not,” he said.

Meanwhile, final day hero Khutlang said Lioli’s hard work and consistency paid off.

“We did a lot of things together as a team. We were the target team; every team that was playing against us came prepared so it wasn’t easy at all. All we did was to continue working hard to achieve what we wanted and we have done that. We have been working hard the whole season,” Khutlang said.

Khutlang, who finished with eight league goals, said he could have scored more were it not for injuries. Nonetheless, the former Sandawana star thanked his teammates for supporting him through his injury woes.

“Honestly, I think I would have scored more goals this season, I think I was just unfortunate with injuries. I sustained a long term injury and it’s not easy to score because you are a target man; people target you, so it’s not easy,” he explained.

“My teammates have been supporting me since I came to Lioli. It’s not easy when you are new at a club, you find players there and you must prove yourself. (But) my teammates have been supporting me. Even during the difficult times of injuries they have been there for me,” Khutlang said.

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