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‘Don’t count Lioli out of title race’

 

Lioli Head Coach Halemakale Mahlaha
Lioli Head Coach Halemakale Mahlaha

Moorosi Tsiane

NEWLY-APPOINTED Lioli coach Halemakale Mahlaha has welcomed the return of forward Tšepo Seturumane, saying it could spark a recovery from the poor start to their Vodacom Premier League title defence which saw them losing 1-0 to LMPS last Saturday.

Seturumane is currently away on national duty with Likuena who take on Algeria in a Group J Africa Nations Cup qualifier this evening. He was the last addition to the Lioli squad a few hours before the transfer window closed at midnight on 31 August.

Lioli general manager Hlalele Matobako confirmed the signing of Seturumane from LMPS who re-united with the Teyateyaneng based club in a swap deal that saw defender Basia Makepe going the other way.

“We had unfinished business with LMPS and from the start the deal was that Seturumane would play for them for a season while Basia would be with us for the same period. We would swap the players at the end of the season. We have therefore registered Seturumane as our player for this season and Basia is joining them,” Matobako said.

Previously Lioli technical director, Mahlaha has swapped positions with coach Mosholi Mokhothu because the latter did not have the B licensing coaching certificate required by the new club licensing system for this season.

Mahlaha on Thursday told this newspaper they were poor in the last third on Saturday, failing to convert several chances. He said as a result they needed quality to boost their strikeforce.

“We created lot of chances which we failed to convert. Many factors could have contributed, including the technical department shake-up which caused some disturbance so my players were not mentally prepared,” Mahlaha said.

“Everyone knows what Seturumane can offer and I am happy to have him back to increase competition in our side. I believe he will push other players to work even harder.

“Our other striker Tšepo Lekhooana is fit again after that long injury. So this week we have been working hard at training concentrating on finishing but the sad part is some of our players are away with the national duty.”

On the performance of debutant Thapelo Tale, Mahlaha said that considering the “fact that it was his first competitive match in about a year he is really coming good. However, he needs to work harder because strikers’ performance is measured by goals and nothing else.”

The former Likuena assistant coach conceded coaching Lioli came with high expectations but said he would remain focused and not succumb to the pressure.

“Lioli is a big team with huge support base that is always expecting results so the job comes with pressure. But I know I just need to do my work and never give in. Shoes (Mokhothu) is still here in the team what changed is just the positions but we are still working together. My assistant Motebang Makhetha is also back from a course, so it will be a different ball game when we play LDF next weekend,” said Mahlaha.

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