Shake-up at Lioli

Shake-up at Lioli

MASERU – Econet Premier League giants Lioli have made their intentions clear for the 2018/19 season by unveiling 10 new players.
The signings were introduced yesterday during a flamb5oyant ceremony at the headquarters of Alliance Insurance, the club’s main sponsor.
They are a sign Lioli mean business.

For the past two years ‘Tse Nala’ have had to endure watching Bantu celebrate successive league titles and, even worse, last season Lioli went trophy-less for the first time since 2012.
The decline cast dark clouds over Teya-teyaneng and caused Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana to whip out the cheque-book in order for the club to reclaim a league title they last won in 2016.
Amongst the 10 new players are highly-rated goalkeeper Jessie Matsie from Kick4Life and Hopolang Mohlalefi from Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) – both are part of an off-season revolution at ‘Tse Nala’.

There is also a new head coach with former Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) technical director Lehlohonolo Thotanyana in charge and Morena Ramorebodi gone.
A host of players, including former icon Bushy Moletsane, have also left.
“We changed the core of the team because we believe in our philosophy and we are on the right track,” Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana said.
“Our mission is to achieve stability in the team because we believe that bringing players together makes them a family so that they can understand each other and cover each other for the benefit of the team.”

The Lioli boss also seemed to admit to last season’s year-long rumours of player power which ultimately saw the end of Halemakale Mahlaha and then Ramorebodi.
“We did not solve the problems we had within the team when we should have because we felt if we acted our decisions might haunt us in the future (but unfortunately) we saw some of our strengths turn into weaknesses,” he said.

“When you do not have a strong coaching team there will be player power and that will then work against the coach, this is what we learned,” he said.
As a result, Lioli have cast their net far and wide to find the right kind of talent.
Amongst the signings are Stephan Eyu from Gabon and Kum Bin from Victoria United in Cameroon. Lebohang Sheleng and Diutlwileng Boikanyo have also joined from South African lower league side Sandton Superstars.

‘Tse Nala’ hope the signings will close the gap on Bantu who finished eight points ahead of Lioli last season and showed their superiority with a 4-1 drubbing of the Teyateyaneng side in April.
“We mentioned when last season ended that we are going to make huge changes in our team and we did,” Thotanyana said, adding that Lioli held exhaustive trials to find fresh talent.
“Our journey was long and at some point even the media did not believe in us. We had 100 players who captured our eyes and we picked 10 and signed them,” he said.

“The coaches’ mandate is to build a competitive team. We did not just pick players because of their availability but we took players who met our criteria and also deserve to be part of our team.”
The new signings will have to quickly fit into Lioli’s playing style and culture with their league campaign starting next Saturday with a tough tie against Kick4Life.
Thotanyana said the club has engaged with the new players and given them the club’s policies and code of conduct.

He insisted that while it is important for Lioli to challenge for all trophies on offer this season, the Econet Premier League title is a priority.
“We have full confidence in our new signings and the technical team as well,” the Lioli president said.
“I think you are aware that Lioli broke a record by going to LEFA and asking for the technical director when we did not have a coach; that is how serious we were about strengthening our team.”
“We are back to basics (and) we are serious,” Thotanyana said.

“Our search for players was far and wide because we have players from different countries (and) that again justifies our seriousness. We are going to launch a technical sponsorship (in the coming weeks) and we will also unveil our new jersey as we continue to rebuild our team.”

Lioli signings:

Paseka Khang, Thabiso Mahola both from Lithabaneng Golden
Jessie Matsie from Kick4Life
Stephan Eyu from Gabon
Lebohang Sheleng, Diutlwileng Boikanyo both from Sandton Superstars
Teboho Ntlama from Sefotha-fotha
Mokoena Monese from Mangau
Hopolang Mohlalefi from LCS
Kum Bin from Victoria United in Cameroon

Players released:

Bokang Sello, Bushy Moletsane, Obakeng Modirwa, Tebalo Mofokeng, Tšeliso Mosekili, Tebello Mofokeng, Joseph Lekata, Sebata Maseko, Teboho Lekhooa, Itumeleng Leche, Bafokeng Mosala and Shetsane Ramoseeka.

Nkheli Liphoto

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