No need to panic, says Notši

No need to panic, says Notši

MASERU – Kick4Life coach Leslie Notši says he is not pressing any panic buttons just yet despite his side’s sluggish start to the 2017/18 Econet Premier League season.
After a sizzling 2016/17 campaign which saw the Old Europa side finish fourth in the league, expectations were high for Kick4Life entering this season.

However, things have not gone their way.
Not only have Kick4Life not achieved their desired results, their season has been disrupted by postponements which have stalled their momentum while teams around them have been finding their groove.

After eight games played, Kick4Life find themselves in 10th place on the log with just nine points in the bag. The Old Europa side are already seven points adrift of fourth-placed Liphakoe, although Kick4Life do have two games in hand.
However, Notši said although things are tough at the moment, he believes the team will get past their hard times.

With the Christmas break fast approaching, the former Lesotho boss urged Kick4Life to grind out results in their remaining matches this year in order to begin the second round on a positive note.
“We are in a very tricky situation but we as a technical team are still confident that we will make it through,” Notši said.

“We have gone through some challenges. We have had matches that were never played and the games are now coming thick and fast but the confidence we have in our team is still the same,” he insisted.

Notši continued: “I believe (the players) have done well, it is just a matter of time. But at the same time I think we all just have to look at the bigger picture because when you look at the way we play, we create a lot of goals scoring opportunities but now we just have to see to it that our boys convert.
“So I think we just have to focus on that. We should not press panic buttons but we are aware that we have got to start getting those wins before it is too late.”

One of the reasons for Kick4Life’s struggles has been their lack of form in front of goals. Only Sky Battalion and Sundawana, the bottom two teams in the league, have scored less than Kick4Life’s tally of six goals.
In an effort to remedy their goal-scoring woes, Notši said his technical team has devised a strategy to play with two strikers upfront which will add numbers to their attack and increase their chances of scoring.

He said this change will also help get their attacking midfielders involved in the final third and will encourage more players to take responsibility when it comes to finding the net.
For his part, the club’s Football Director, Chris Bullock, said it was always going to be difficult for Kick4Life to replicate their spectacular 2016/17 campaign.

He said it is tough to lose key players and not be able to replace them. One such loss is that of last season’s club top scorer Thabiso Brown.
The Lesotho international, who plundered an impressive 17 league goals last term, left for Bolivia’s greener pastures on the eve of the 2017/18 campaign.

“From my point of view it is always about the long-term, we say that all the time,” Bullock said.
“We have a strategic plan we are working towards (and) I have been saying since the beginning that this year is a year of transition. I think even the top teams would find it tough to lose key players. That is not an excuse but when you look at the players we lost, the likes of Thabiso Brown, Morapeli Lesoetsa, Thapelo Tale, and also taking into account as well that Lefty (Bokang Mothoana) has missed the whole season now with injury, it is difficult.”

Bullock continued: “After last season there was always going to be a lot of expectation which is why we tried to play it down this year.
Last year was a great year, but we are finding it very hard to do it again. We had a strong squad we had an experienced squad (last season).”
“There is a perception out there that Kick4Life have the resources to replace the players we have lost yet reality is that we don’t. I will give you an example; Nzenze (Nkulu) scored the winner against us this past weekend (when we faced Matlama).

“He is someone the administration and the coach tried very hard to sign but we couldn’t because we didn’t have the financial resources. It is always difficult to lose players and not be able to replace him and for people to think we can maintain what we have done (last season),” he said.
Bullock said making the top eight would still represent a good season for Kick4Life and another step towards their long-term goals. On Saturday, the Old Europa side travel to Quthing to face Liphakoe and Notši said he is bracing himself for a tough encounter against Motlatsi Shale’s fourth-placed charges.

“(It’s going to be) another tough encounter (but) when you look back to our previous encounters we have done well, I still believe we will do well against Liphakoe,” Notši said.
“In the remaining three matches before the Christmas break we are going to give ourselves an assignment: we have to see to it that we dig deep and get those results so that after Christmas we can start on a positive note.”

Luciah Phahla

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