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Thabantšo, Lesaoana vie for top awards



Matlama and Bantu midfielders, Jane Thabantšo and Thabo Lesaoana, lead the list of nominees for the 2022/23 Vodacom Premier League (VPL) end of season awards.
The VPL awards will be held tomorrow evening at Avani Maseru and Thabantšo, who was a talisman for Matlama all season, has scored the most nominations with his name in the running for three different accolades.

In addition, the Lesotho international is assured of going home with at least one award because he will receive the Top Goal-scorer of the Season trophy.
Thabantšo will share the award with Hlomelang Lebina of Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) after both players finished the 2022/23 season with 15 goals apiece.
Thabantšo’s golden boot success was secured by an incredible final day performance when he scored four goals in Matlama’s 5-0 win over Machokha late last month.

Until then, Lebina looked like he would be the sole winner of the golden boot but ‘Tse Putsoa’ went out of their way on the final day to give Thabantšo the award.
Every pass and opportunity against Machokha was created for him, and any player in a position to score first looked for Thabantšo in what was an obvious team effort to push the midfielder to win the top scorer award.
Thabantšo went into the final game with 11 goals while Lebina had 13.

Four goals in 43 minutes by Thabantšo put him ahead of Lebina. However, Lebina put one final twist in the tale when he scored a brace in the second half of LCS’s 4-0 win over CCX to tie the top scorers’ charts at 15 goals.
Bantu’s Lesaoana is set to be the night’s other big winner.

The midfielder has played a key role in Bantu’s league triumph and their People’s Cup conquest and he is the favourite to win the coveted Player of the Season which comes with a M15 000 jackpot.

Lesoana predominantly played as a midfielder for Bantu but was able to operate in different positions when called upon.
Whether he was a centre-back or a fullback, his adaptability made Lesoana one of the most important players for the champions. The third nominee in the player of the season category is Bantu’s Tšoanelo Koetle.

Another major award is the coach of the season crown which will be contested by Linare’s Leslie Notši, Motheo Mohapi of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Tiisetso Molete of Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

The list of nominees is rare because it does not include the coach of the league winning team. Bantu’s title-winning coach Bob Mafoso was only hired in April and he did not fulfil the criteria of games in charge to be eligible for the coach of the season award.

In Mafoso’s absence the favourite for the award is Notši who transformed Linare’s season after he took over as coach.
Notši took charge of ‘Tse Tala’ last October when he replaced South Africa-born coach, Teboho Moloi.
When Notši arrived at Linare, they had just won three of their opening six games and he went to lead them to second place.

His impact at Linare is undeniable especially when considering the quality of his team compared to that of LDF and LMPS. Linare punched above their weight and a fourth-place finish for them would have been a good achievement.
Finishing as runners up is a fantastic achievement and a great job by Notši. It is difficult for anyone to make a case against Notši.

Full nominees list:
Assistant Referee of the Season
Lesupi Puputla
Puleng Mahomo
Siza Dlangamandla
Referee of the Season
Lebalang Mokete
‘Mathabo Kolokotoane
Moeketsi Ntoa
Defender of the Season
Mabitle Tšotetsi
Motlomelo Mkhwanazi
Tšoanelo Koetle
Midfielder of the season
Tšepo Toloane
Jane Thabantšo
Thabo Lesaoana
Goalkeeper of the Season
Sekhoane Moerane
Ntsane Lichaba
Sele Thetsane
Young Player of the Season
Mohlomo Makhetha
Lebina Hlomelang
Katleho Koaeane
Coach of the Season
Leslie Notši
Motheo Mohapi
Tiisetso Molete
Player’s Player of the Season
Jane Thabantšo
Thabo Lesaoana
Top Goalscorer of the Season
Jane Thabantšo (15 goals)
Lebina Hlomelang (15 goals)
Player of the Season
Thabo Lesaoana
Jane Thabantšo
Tšoanelo Koetle

Tlalane Phahla

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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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