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Blood and thunder as Matlama-Lioli clash

Mikia Kalati

MASERU and the country in general will come to a standstill this afternoon with all roads leading to Setsoto Stadium where Matlama and Lioli will renew their rivalry in a blood and thunder Econet Premier League match.

The tie is one of two outstanding matches from the first round with the other clash between Sefotha-fotha and Kick4Life penciled for PTC Ground also this afternoon.

The two teams are separated by five points with Lioli in second position on the log standings.

The match will also a test of character for newly appointed Lioli coach, Morena Ramoreboli, who has coached a number of teams in the Free State province in South Africa.

The Free State-born coach who recently assumed the reins ahead of this week’s resumption of premier league action, said although they had prepared for the tie, everything will depend on the readiness of his charges on match day.

“We have been preparing and when you prepare for a game the aim is walk away with the three points,” Ramoreboli told this publication.

“In doing so you have to defend well and also work on scoring goals which have been the key factors in our preparation for the game. I think all will depend on how ready the players are to give us the three point or win the game.

For his part, Matlama coach Mosito Matela said the aborted match with LDF due to the non-availability of referees had affected the morale in their camp.

“Things look to be on the track after coming back from the Christmas break, but the fact that we had prepared for the LDF match which did not take place really affected us.

“That match could have helped us in terms of match fitness but we have to move on and prepare for Lioli.

“Playing a team like Lioli is never easy but the good thing is that you do not need to dig deep to motivate the players. We are aware they are a good side with a new coach who has a lot to prove after his appointment,” Matela said.

Meanwhile, Kick4Life coach Leslie Notši who led the national under-20 to the final of the regional COSAFA Cup last month in Zambia, says it is time his club rediscovered the form that made them one of the most feared teams in the league last season.

“This is a very important match for us because we must win our two remaining matches from the first round to finish on a high note.

“Winning against Sefotha-fotha will put us in a respectable position on the log after a slow start to the 2017/18 season.”

“That will also give us the momentum to fight for a place in the top eight and eventually the top four,” ” Notši said.

He however, advised caution, saying Sefotha-fotha have proved to be a tough and motivated side after their promotion to the top flight this season.

“Teams like Sefotha-fotha are very tough and they have improved the competition in the league.

“But the good thing is that we go into the match with a clean bill of health in our squad.”

For his part, Sefotha-fotha coach, Tiisetso Molete, expects a tough match, saying Kick4Life have more premier league experience and boast one of the best coaches in the land.

‘We are ready for the match and we know it will be a tough battle against a very good team with one of the best coaches in the country.

“Compared to them we are a young side that is still making baby steps as far as top flight football is concerned but I am happy with how things have gone so far into our first season at this stage after a rough start to life in the premier league.

“Our performance will hinge on how well we execute our game plan,” Molete said.

The rookies have collected 12 points from 11 games and occupy 10th position ahead of the likes of Linare, Likhopo and Sky Battalion.

Molete also praised league-winning former Lioli mentor, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu who joined the club as technical director.

“He (Mokhothu) has made a big difference to our team and his expertise has helped us a lot.

“He was supposed to be an advisor to us the coaches but because I have so much to learn from him, I asked him to sit with us on the bench in order to be more involved due to the respect we all have for him at the club,” Molete said.

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