Connect with us

Sports

Why Matlama are in trouble

Published

on

MASERU – There is something wrong with Matlama and I am afraid it is the players and their executive committee.

The players are selfish, they play only when they want to and have absolutely no respect for the fans, let alone the badge they are wearing.

The performance they displayed on Sunday against Bantu was no different to the shabby excuses they put on in previous defeats to Lijabatho and Lesotho Correctional Service and the only players that came out of the shambolic game with their heads held high were Jane Thabantšo, Mohai Motete and goalkeeper Monaheng Ramalefane.

The rest should hang their heads in shame and if it wasn’t for the latter, the score-line could have been humiliating in the second half and not the 2-1 final score to Bantu.

Ramalefane was called on to save Matlama on several occasions because his backline was sleeping all game. Rethabile Mokokoane was running around like a headless chicken doing absolutely nothing the entire game.

What happened to Phafa Tšosane?

These days his freekicks do not even beat the first man anymore and he cut a frustrated figure throughout the game.

He was there, I just couldn’t tell what he was doing. Tšosane needs to rediscover his mojo quickly.

The less said about Matlama’s two new strikers Lazola Jokojokwane and Thabiso Mari, who have one goal between them in eight games, the better.

Almost all of the dangerous attacks that Matlama launched were instigated by Thabantšo and he worked his socks off and never stopped running trying to make things happen. If those around him matched his desire maybe the result would have been different.

Thabantšo is by far the best player in this team and was key to their league triumph last season. He should not be surrounded by charlatans who drop their heads when things don’t go their way.

Another player Matlama can thank for saving their skin is Bantu striker Tšeliso Botsane who missed five clear cut chances in the first half. Even if the game had been played the whole night and he still wouldn’t have scored.

His coach Moeketsi Mongoya reckoned it is a matter of confidence for Botsane after being out for weeks.

Botsane got behind Matlama’s non-existent defence so many times and when he did, it was either he rushed to take a shot or did not look up to place the ball.

After the game, Mongoya said Bantu could have scored seven or eight goals and he is right. Even now it still doesn’t make sense how it ended 2-1. Lehlohonolo Fothoane was the man of the match, his two goals gave Bantu a victory, but he too could have scored two more.

I have not seen a team be that open at the back and give away so many chances to their biggest rivals and the way they position themselves for set-pieces and attacks is exactly why they are on a four-game winless run.

Former Matlama coach Mothobi Molebatsi, who left the club last week, previously lamented his defenders positioning saying the two last minute goals they conceded against Lijabatho and Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) were because of poor positioning.

After seeing Matlama on Sunday it is safe to conclude Molebatsi was never the problem.

What irks me even more is that they also lack discipline. I can only hope Lisema Lebokollane at least had the decency to apologise to his teammates for cowardly leaving them on the pitch to fight on their own. His big mouth got him in trouble not once but twice with experienced referee Lebalang Mokete showing him two yellow cards and sending him to the dressing rooms.

Lebokollane is an experienced national team player and he should know better than mouthing off at officials after they make decisions. Of course, his coach Halemakale Mahlaha tried to defend him saying the players are frustrated and angry because they didn’t play well in the last three games. Please, the only time I saw him showing any fight was when his lips were moving.

Mahlaha later admitted that Lebokollane’s sending off affected the team and gave Bantu an upper hand in ball possession.

“It hurt us a lot because Bantu is a possession team and they have played together a long-time, I just got here trying to fix whatever I think is wrong,” Mahlaha said.

“Bantu have gained momentum, us being one player less helped them to have more possession than us. We got chances even after Lisema went out we just didn’t combine well upfront,” he added.

Mahlaha said the technical team need to work with the players mentally because they found them dispirited but said they have changed a lot from the way he saw them last week.

“We just need to take it from here and increase fitness levels a little bit so that we can match these teams, otherwise heads are up,” Mahlaha said.

Rightfully, Matlama players will make a case about their alleged unpaid wages and bonuses and the fact that the club has failed to honour them after winning the league. As it is always the case, whispers started to go around that they haven’t been paid. It is a shame really but not surprising.

There were execs that were scheming behind Molebatsi’s back demanding answers why ‘so and so’ was not playing. Some were entertaining the players’ complaints about their limited game-time instead of backing their coach, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Their slithering behaviour emboldened their vile fan base and some Matlama fans were planning to attack Molebatsi against Bantu if he was in charge.

But unbeknownst to them, a drunkard would not have patience to wait one more week and attacked the coach in Morija two Saturdays ago. Molebatsi is gone and Matlama’s season is going up in flames.

Matlama must paint themselves and wear outfits because they are a circus. Good thing we have front row tickets.

Tlalane Phahla

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

Women rugby stars picked by Free State

Published

on

Two Lesotho women’s rugby stars, Thato Moeti and Mookho Lesoetsa, have been selected to the Free State senior team for the 2024 season.
The duo have been selected after their sterling performances for Lesotho in the on-going Free State Women’s Rugby League in South Africa and now Moeti and Lesoetsa can look forward to competing in the Cheetahs League, which marks a major step in their rugby careers.

Moeti told thepost yesterday that she is “very grateful for the opportunity” to be part of the Free State squad.

“It has always been my wish to be selected and, finally, I made it in the eyes of the Free State management,” Moeti said.

“I believe that if (Lesotho rugby) players can play with heart and spirit, and if they show their talent in the league, they can also be selected next season,” she added.

The management of the Free State women’s team scouted players from Lesotho to join in their squad last year as well.

12 months ago, it was Palesa Pitso, Mosongoa Monaheng and Nthabeleng Lebetsa who were picked, and they remain with the squad.

The selected players sign yearly contracts with the Free State team and Lesotho’s contingent at the club is now up to five.

The team manager of the national women’s rugby team, Tumelo Phenya, said Lesotho’s players seem to improve and “become very competitive” when they compete across the border because everyone wants the exposure and opportunity to compete outside the country.

He said being part of the Free State Women’s Rugby League allows Lesotho’s players to showcase their talent and opens doors for them to be selected for the Cheetahs League the following year.

“We are very lucky that South Africa recognises our players, especially because rugby in South Africa is at a high level. It shows progress for us as a country that we can produce players that can be competitive internationally,” Phenya said.

Phenya said he aims to see Lesotho compete at the Women’s Rugby Cup one day.
The showpiece is held every four years and the next tournament is next year in England.

Phenya said Pitso, Monaheng and Lebetsa, who have now gained experience and exposure outside the country, are excellent products to promote rugby in Lesotho.
Pitso also happens to be the team manager of the Lesotho men’s rugby side.

“When we go to schools with them, students fall into the sport because they want to be like them. Even Pitso’s title says a lot to students, they see growth in rugby,” he said.

Unfortunately, rugby, especially the women’s game, is hamstrung by a lack of finances and support.

As a result, Phenya said there are many tournaments and invitations Lesotho fails to honour because of no funds.

Phenya pleaded with Basotho and local companies to invest in their sport so that women’s rugby can grow and improve.

Lesotho is currently part of the Free State Women’s League that kicked off last month and will end early in May.

The national side played two games.

Lesotho beat Spartans 34-12 and lost 34-7 to Central University of Technology (CUT).

Relebohile Tšepe

Continue Reading

Sports

Seema speaks on good run

Published

on

Lesotho legend Lehlohonolo Seema has spoken on Sekhukhune United’s impressive run in the DSTV Premiership since taking over the reins at the Polokwane-based outfit in December last year.
“Babina Noko”, as Sekhukhune are affectionately known, were in 12th place when its management appointed the former Likuena captain as its new coach last year, but the team has since ascended to third position.

Seema joined Sekhukhune from Polokwane City, who were then in sixth position but now find themselves in 10th position since the Lesotho mentor left them for their rivals from the same province.
Speaking exclusively to thepost following a run of five victories which includes a 2-1 win over former club Orlando Pirates and Tuesday’s 2-2 draw against Cape Town City, Seema attributed the impressive run to the hard work his team has been putting on the training ground.

“I’m not surprised by the way the players responded to my way of doing things since I took over the reins. On beating Pirates, it’s not even about Pirates, it’s all about collecting points,” Seema said.
“Beating a big side is always a bonus and giving yourself a chance to finish in a better position. There was nothing personal, but we are taking it one game at a time. We are happy as a club to collect the three points because competition is tight, and the margins are very close, and we just want to collect as many points as possible.

“Remember this team was playing in the Confederations Cup though it was not doing well in the league, but they have shown that they won games in the continent in countries like DRC to have made the group stages of the continental competition,” he said.

Seema believes being together in their camp has also worked wonders for his team to be the most inform team in the DSTV Premiership at this juncture.
They are now in third position behind defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns as well as another surprise package in Stellenbosch FC.

“There is no secret honestly in the form that we have been enjoying as a club, but just hard work on the training pitch, having a common goal, respecting each other, and listening to each other,” Seema said.

“We have remained humble on and off the field as a team, we have made it easy for players to work with us by asking questions on the training ground and we give them answers to come up with solutions for problems that we have as a team.

“Credit must go to the whole technical team, the analysts, fitness team, medical team because since I arrived here, we have had a very tough schedule and we don’t have a big squad, but they have managed it very well.

“The analysis team has been doing a magnificent job giving us everything we need on time to plan on our team as well as the opponents and our team has coped with all the challenges thrown at us,” he said.

Seema also opened up on Lesotho international, Teboho Letsema, who was registered by Sekhukhune in the January transfer window.

“Letsema is our player, we have signed him but could not register him because we already had five foreigners but because we could not miss out on such a talent, we had to get his signature,” Seema said.

“We managed to loan him out to Orbit, who are in the Motsepe Championship and competing. It’s good for him and he is a player to watch next season,” he said.

Mikia Kalati

Continue Reading

Sports

Lioli captain says job not done yet

Published

on

Lioli captain Mafa Moremoholo insists the job “is not done” in the race to claim the Vodacom Premier League crown.

Last weekend was a game-changer in the title chase and Lioli are now firmly in the driver’s seat to lift the league trophy after results went their way in dramatic fashion.

The drama started last Saturday when recently crowned People’s Cup champions Matlama were stunned 3-0 by Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

24 hours later, Lifofane held fellow title rivals Bantu to a surprise 1-1 draw and the weekend ended with Lioli five points clear at the top of the table after ‘Tse Nala’ overcame Liphakoe 1-0.

Although Lioli, with 56 points from 24 matches, have played a game more than Matlama (51 points) and Bantu (49 points), points in hand are better than those still to gain.

Furthermore, if Lioli win their remaining six matches, they will be crowned champions regardless of other results and that has uncorked joy in Teyateyaneng (TY) with some fans already planning festivities for when Lioli end their eight-year title drought.

List of champions since 2010:
2010 Matlama
2011 Lesotho Correctional Service
2012 Lesotho Correctional Service
2013 Lioli
2014 Bantu
2015 Lioli
2016 Lioli
2017 Bantu
2018 Bantu
2019 Matlama
2020 Bantu
2021-22 Matlama
2023 Bantu

Moremoholo however warned against any premature celebrations and insisted Lioli have not reached the levels the club’s players and coaches want to attain.
The stalwart defender said the gap the TY giants have established at the top means nothing because they still have six crucial games to play.

“As for being the champions of the league, I cannot comment on that because we are on a serious journey,” he said. “The title can be missed by an inch, so we do not want to praise ourselves now.”

Moremoholo pointed out that the league’s intensity has picked up in the second half of the season, and even though Lioli won 1-0 on Sunday, Liphakoe’s performance surprised him.
It was night and day from the first round clash in November when Lioli won 2-1, he said, this time Liphakoe were prepared and ready to fight.

It is going to be that way in every game for the remainder of the season because all teams want to improve their league position, Moremoholo added.

“Our games with Liphakoe are never easy because we have our own fight over our (similar) logos. We are birds of the same feather,” he said. “They approached us in a different way from the first leg, which surprised me. They gave us pressure and we had to fight. We still need to improve how we approach our games.”

As one of the leaders of the team, a lot of that responsibility will fall on Moremoholo.

So far, the skipper has led with aplomb and has been the epitome of consistency while marshalling a defence that has conceded just 13 goals in 24 games. Only LMPS (11 goals conceded in 24 games) have a better defensive record.

Moremoholo’s leadership has duly been recognised around the league and ‘Tse Nala’ coach Motheo Mohapi called him Lioli’s best player after their win over Liphakoe.
Mohapi said the defender’s efforts as captain and his willingness to work to lift his team has been key to their success.
Moremoholo preferred to praise his teammates, though.

“It is through the hard work of the team for someone to be recognised. I really appreciate my teammates for setting the spotlight on me to be recognised (by Mohapi),” he said.

The Lioli skipper added that the club’s targets extend beyond this season – they want to see ‘Tse Nala’ recognised in continental competitions in the next two to three years, and their focus is not on just winning the league.

For them to become a competitive fixture in CAF competitions, Lioli will need to continue their noticeable improvement under Mohapi.

Last season they finished eighth place in the league with 42 points, 26 points behind eventual champions Bantu. Lioli have already shattered that points total in Mohapi’s first season in charge and Moremoholo believes there is more room to grow.

He said the core of Lioli’s players are still young which gives them a chance to improve and reach their goal of future dominance while the presence of Mohapi as coach is another reason Moremoholo sees a bright future for the team.

“Most of our players are still young, they are early in their 20s, and they will hold the team for some years while they gain experience. I also appreciate (Mohapi) for being part of our team and holding our hands to return the dignity of the team,” he said.

The club’s collective efforts have manifested the return of Lioli fans to grounds this season and that vociferous 12th man, which was key to Lioli’s successful title-winning teams in the past, will again be crucial in their next game on Sunday against Lijabatho.

“Seeing supporters at our games lift our spirits and it gives us hope to win every game,” Moremoholo said.

“(The Lioli fans) should never give up on us because through their presence, we get motivated.”

Weekend fixtures:
Saturday
Bantu vs Liphakoe
Manonyane vs Likila
Lifofane vs CCX
Lijabatho vs Lioli
Sunday
Machokha vs LDF
Naughty Boys vs Matlama
LMPS vs Linare
ACE Maseru vs LCS

Relebohile Tšepe

Continue Reading
Advertisement

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending