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Kick4Life turns the corner



MASERU – If it is true there is always light at the end of the tunnel, then Kick4Life are starting to see much brighter.
Winning two Econet Premier League games in a row can have that effect and, after navigating a lean spell, Kick4Life are even daring to set loftier targets.
That is the difference a few weeks can make in football.

Heading into November, the Old Europa side were reeling and on a three-match losing streak with questions starting to be asked of head coach Bob Mafoso.
As the month ends, however, the outlook is different for Kick4Life after Mafoso’s side outclassed Likhopo 3-1 at the Lesotho Correctional Services grounds on Saturday to follow up on a 2-0 beating of Matlama three weeks ago just before the international break.

The wins have duly raised Kick4Life from hovering outside the relegation zone to eighth place in the Econet Premiership and they have Mafoso aiming high for the rest of the campaign.
After finishing fourth and sixth in the past two league seasons, Mafoso is banking on the momentum his team is gathering to guarantee a top six finish, at the minimum.
“We just have to keep on making sure that we work on our negatives so that we perfect all our games,” said Mafoso, who replaced Leslie Notši as Kick4Life coach in June.
“We are taking it one game at a time but, to me, failure would be finishing the league in any position outside the top six. We need to try to be (in the) top six or better than that, we feel we are not far from what is expected.”

Mafoso is correct in that Kick4Life are only three points off Bantu in fourth place which in itself speaks to the unpredictable nature of this 2018/19 season.
Just a month ago, the Old Europa side were in the midst of successive losses to Liphakoe, LCS and Linare. The hope now in Kick4Life’s coaching staff is that the team has turned the corner towards a more consistent upwards trajectory.

“The international break came at the wrong time because we had played well against Matlama but the positive thing is we used it to prepare well for the match against Likhopo,” Mafoso said.
“We come from very difficult times where we were not getting expected results but we have never been in crisis,” he added.
“We never came to a point where we were saying our team is not getting results or blamed them. We had to keep on telling our players to be patient and work hard. Sometimes they were discouraged but it was not a crisis.”

Kick4Life can also look forward to the return of stalwart Bokang Mothoana from injury this week.
The Lesotho international has been vital to the side’s success over the past two years and his comeback, coupled with the form of Kick4Life young players such as Bonang Mohapi and Tšeliso Botsane, gives the side further cause for optimism.

Mohapi scored a brace against Likhopo to take his season tally to three goals and he is part of a young brigade the club hopes will take a step forward this season.
Kick4Life also have a run of winnable games before the Christmas break starting with struggling Swallows this Sunday before games against Majantja and Sefotha-fotha.
Continuing their momentum, as Mafoso puts it, could even see Kick4Life break into the top four by next month’s half-season vacation.

“We won against Matlama and it was important to defeat Likhopo as well. We told our players that we should beat both big and small teams,” Mafoso said.
“Our realistic position will be determined by how other teams are playing. We just want to win all the remaining games so we will see how far we will go,” he added.
“Teams differ but our approach will be the same approach we use every time. The main objective is winning games.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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Rabale eyes Champions League glory



Lesotho women’s team captain Boitumelo Rabale has her eyes on winning her second CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football is scheduled for Ivory Coast from November 5-19, where eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned Queens of the continent.

“Queen”, as the Lesotho star is commonly known, was part of the Sundowns squad that was crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the tournament held in Egypt two years ago, becoming the first player from the Mountain Kingdom to taste Champions League success.
She has become one of the key players in Jerry Tshabalala’s squad having walked away with the Hollywoodbets Player of the Season in the previous campaign and currently leads the goal-scoring charts with 21 goals.

“It was exciting to win the CAF Women’s Champions League with Sundowns two years ago and in the process becoming the first player from Lesotho to do so,” Rabale said.

“I felt very lucky and honoured to make history. It gave me confidence to continue working hard and strive for more success with the club”
Sundowns head to the tournament as regional champions after clinching the COSAFA qualifiers to qualify for the continental showpiece, where they will kickstart their campaign against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.

Rabale admitted that memories of losing the last final to AS FAR still haunts them, but they head to Ivory Coast a better team than in the last tournament.

“We learnt the hard way when we lost in the final to AS FAR and we come back a better team having rectified our mistakes.

“It’s our dream to conquer the continent again and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to get our second star in Ivory Coast.

“It will be very good to add the second CAF Champions League medal to my trophy cabinet,” she said.

The 27-year-old has been prolific for Sundowns this campaign having scored nine goals in her last five matches to take her tally for this campaign to 21 goals.
Sundowns are in Group A alongside tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan, Sporting Casablanca of Morocco, as well as Tanzania’s JKT Queen.

Since joining Sundowns in 2021, Rabale has won the Hollywoodbets Super League twice, the COSAFA Zonal qualifiers twice as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League and is the reigning Hollywoodbets Player of the season.

Tlalane Phahla

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Red Skins fail to raise funds for championship



Lesotho volleyball giants Red Skins have failed to raise funds for the 2023 Zone 6 Senior Indoor Volleyball Club Championship they are set to host in December.

Red Skins will host the competition together with four other local volleyball clubs – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Station (LMPS) and Rivers – and the tournament is expected to start on December 7 and end 10 days later.

Without any funds or sponsors coming in, Red Skins will have to foot the bill from their pockets for the tournament which will see teams from 10 countries converge on Maseru.

Among the participating nations, Botswana is expected to bring the biggest contingent with 12 teams, with Zambia following closely behind with nine teams while Zimbabwe is set to be represented by six teams.

Two weeks ago, Red Skins participated in the Elite Cup in Gauteng, South Africa, which was hosted by Aqua Darshan Volleyball.
Red Skins hoped to win the tournament and return home with a hefty jackpot but they only collected M5 000 which was won by the men’s team.

A gala dinner that Red Skins hosted last weekend also failed to generate income due to low attendance and speaking to thepost on Tuesday, the club’s vice-captain, Moleboheng Mofolo, said they will have to push on with what they have to host the tournament.
Mofolo said they no longer have time to come up with other means to raise funds.

“Tournaments will require us to find sponsorships and we do not have time now, we have to focus and train well,” Mofolo said.

“Our coach already told us to camp from this week but rain is our biggest challenge because we cannot continue with the training,” she added.

Mofolo said Red Skins are fortunate that participating teams are going to take care of their accommodation and catering. She said if Red Skins had to provide those services, they would not have been able to manage.

She pleaded with individuals, organisations and companies to help the team, whether it is by offering accommodation, food, or whatever little they may have.

Tlalane Phahla

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Giants avoid each other in Top 4 clash



Women Super League (WSL) giants Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies and Kick4Life Ladies have avoided each other in the WSL Top 4 knockout competition.
The two-day showpiece takes centre stage this weekend at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena and it will see last season’s top four finishers in the league – LDF, Kick4Life, Lijabatho and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Ladies – go head-to-head for bragging rights.

The draw for the competition took place last Friday and the semi-finals will see LDF go up against Lijabatho while Kick4Life will take on LMPS Ladies.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday with the tournament culminating the following day.

Sunday’s proceedings will kick-off with a third-place playoff game to determine who walks away with the bronze medals before the final later in the day.
All four games over the two days will be streamed on the FIFA+ website and the WSL Top 4 will usher in a new sponsor this year.

In the past, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) fully bankrolled the competition, however, Computer Business Solutions (CBS) has come on board with a sponsorship for the first time.

The competition’s prize monies have not been revealed because they are still being finalised, but, speaking at last Friday’s draw, LEFA’s associations secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the relationship with CBS is one that sport should engage in.
Mohapi added his hopes that the relationship will be a long-term one.

“While others are busy at their thing, we should really grow ours so that when their distraction finally ends, they find us as united as we can be as the football community,” Mohapi said.
“(We should be) united by the efforts and inputs that emanate from the business community, especially when it is a truly Lesotho business entity because other (foreign entities) are here to take money,” he said.

Addressing CBS as the tournament’s sponsor, Mohapi said: “We are thankful as LEFA for your initiative; (we) hope you will be in this marriage quite long. We know we are just testing the waters but we have a lot that can entice you to stay longer, not only my command but the instruments that we have.”

Mohapi said LEFA’s dream is that in two years’ time all league matches will be streaming on the FIFA+ platform which was launched last April by football’s world governing body to increase exposure of men and women’s football around the globe.

Currently, only three grounds in the country have the structures for broadcasting; Bambatha as well as the grounds at LDF and Lesotho Correctional Service grounds, and all are in Maseru.
LEFA plans to add more grounds to the list with the DIFA facilities in Maputsoe and Mohale’s Hoek set to be the first to follow suit.

“All our women’s competitions, cup competitions and (Vodacom) Premier League matches that will be played in those stadia that have our infrastructure – we will be able to stream those games internationally,” Mohapi said.

“We have extended our footprint,” he added.

“We are now doing LDF – we have already put up the structure – then we are moving to Maputsoe and, hopefully, Mohale’s Hoek. It is our desire that in two years’ time we will hopefully cover all the matches and put them on the FIFA+ streaming platform.”

WSL Top 4 fixtures:
Saturday (Bambatha)
Lijabatho Ladies vs. LDF Ladies
LMPS Ladies vs. Kick4Life Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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