Matlama stares at shock LNIG exit

Matlama stares at shock LNIG exit

MASERU– Matlama’s season hangs in the balance with ‘Tse Putsoa’ on the brink of a shock first round exit from the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8, unless they can produce the goods against Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) on Saturday.
‘Tse Putsoa’ trail 1-0 from the sides’ quarterfinal first leg and defeat in the return game at Setsoto Stadium would virtually destroy Matlama’s season because their Econet Premier League crown appears headed to Bantu.
With so much at stake, Saturday’s clash against LMPS is on everybody’s lips.
‘Tse Putsoa’ coach Charles Manda admitted their backs are against the wall. He said ‘Simunye’ will come with several plans to derail Matlama.
Manda’s side are also in a dangerous position because of their failure to score an away goal in the first leg.
If LMPS score, for example, Matlama will have to score three goals to win the tie.
“I think (LMPS) will come up with two plans (and) maybe see what happens in the first half and use another (plan) in the second half,” Manda said.
“Maybe they will sit back because they know we need to attack them, but they also know that if they score we will need to score three times.”
The stakes are high.
With the Econet Premier League title out of their control, cup competitions are now Matlama’s main focus.
‘Tse Putsoa’ already have the Independence Cup in the cabinet and are in next month’s MGC Top 4 tournament.
Winning another cup trophy would ease the coming pain of losing the league title to Bantu. On the other hand, failure in the LNIG Top 8 and MGC Top 4 would make this season a definite disappointment.
“It is going to be a difficult game, and (LMPS) have good players,” Manda said.
“If they sit back they will make mistakes so I don’t think they will sit back. We are still in the cup, we have not been knocked out yet and we are totally focused on the (LNIG) Top 8.”
The Econet Premier League title has all but slipped from their hands.
‘Tse Putsoa’ dropped more points last Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Lifofane.
Thanks to Bantu’s thrilling 4-2 win over Lesotho Defence Force on Sunday, the gap between first and second is now 14 points with just nine games to go in the Econet Premiership season.
The Mafeteng giants are the only unbeaten side this season and, if they keep it up, Bantu would create history by becoming the first club to go a league campaign undefeated.
Manda said it will be difficult for Matlama to catch Bantu.
“It will be difficult but all is not lost,” he said.
“We still have games to play and to get points,” he continued.
“We are taking it one game at a time and we want to focus on one thing (at a time). This week we are talking about (LNIG) Top 8 and that’s where we are focused. We are still in with a chance. After this we focus on MGC (Top 4).”

Econet Premier League standings:

1 Bantu 17 15 2 0 44 7 +37 47
2 Matlama 17 9 6 2 30 11 +19 33
3 LCS 17 8 5 4 15 11 +4 29
4 Lifofane 17 7 6 4 16 15 +1 27
5 Linare 17 7 5 5 20 14 +6 26
6 LMPS 17 7 4 6 16 12 +4 25
7 Lioli 17 7 4 6 21 18 +3 25
8 LDF 17 6 5 6 23 23 +0 23
9 Kick4Life 17 5 5 7 14 23 -9 20
10 Likhopo 17 4 7 6 18 22 -4 19
11 Liphakoe 17 3 7 7 13 20 -7 16
12 Sefotha-fotha 17 3 5 9 9 17 -8 14
13 Lijabatho 17 2 6 9 12 22 -10 12
14 Swallows 17 1 3 13 5 41 -36 6

Tlalane Phahla


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