Matlama begin title defence at Swallows

Matlama begin title defence at Swallows

MASERU – Matlama begin the defence of their Econet Premier League title on Saturday with a tricky tie against Swallows.
The game is not only the start of the new season for ‘Tse Putsoa’ but is the much-awaited league debut of Matlama’s Malawian coach Charles Manda.
Manda was hired as ‘Tse Putsoa’ coach in July and he will be under immediate scrutiny from the ever-demanding Matlama faithful.

The champions’ match against Swallows is the second of season-opening double header at Setsoto Stadium with Bantu facing Sefotha-fotha at 1pm to launch the 2019/20 campaign.
Speaking to thepost on Tuesday, Manda said he is well aware of the pressure Matlama will be under pressure to defend their title but he insisted it is important for ‘Tse Putsoa’ to take things “one game at a time.”
“We are starting the season this weekend, it is a tough one for us, we are the defending champions and every team that we are going to play will want to beat us,” Manda said.

“I can’t say what we will see on Saturday. We are going to take it one game at a time because we are going to play different opposition every week; the teams are not the same.”
Manda said Matlama’s players are slowly adjusting to his methods.
“They are adapting to everything I am doing in the training sessions with my colleagues, the players are also happy but I am happy for them because every day they are improving and learning,” the Matlama boss said.

‘Tse Putsoa’ fans will definitely be happy to see some improvement on last month’s CAF Champions League display where Matlama were knocked out at the first hurdle by Angola’s Petro Atlético de Luanda.
‘Tse Putsoa’ lost 2-0 at home and in Luanda.
Manda insisted Matlama learned a lot from the Champions League heartbreak.

Another positive for ‘Tse Putsoa’: they have a full bill of health heading into their season opener.
“We learned a lot against Petro in the Champions League, winning was going to be a bonus but we learnt a lot in the first defeat at home and in the second defeat there in Angola,” Manda said.

“It was a learning curve, we got something from the tie and I think if we can pick it up from our second leg which we played in Angola something might happen for Matlama this season. This is a development; we have to progress,” added the Matlama coach.

“That Champions League tie gave us something we never knew can be there, but in Angola we really played well. Although we lost, I was happy for the team. If they can just transfer everything that we did in Angola to this side I think we can have a promising start.”

Econet Premier League weekend fixtures:
Bantu vs. Sefotha-fotha (Setsoto Stadium, 13:00)
Swallows vs. Matlama (Setsoto Stadium, 15:00)

Kick4Life vs. Liphakoe (LCS, 13:00)
LCS vs. Lioli (LCS, 15:00)
LDF vs. LMPS (LDF, 15:00)
Lifofane vs. Linare (TBA, 15:00)
Lijabatho vs. Likhopo (TBA, 15:00)

Tlalane Phahla


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