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Likhopo face Matlama in Maseru derby

Moorosi Tsiane

LIKHOPO are out for their first win in the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season when they visit Matlama in a Maseru derby at LCS Ground this afternoon.

The Red Army are still winless after two matches as they lost their first match against Liphakoe before losing again to Linare last weekend.

Tse Putsoa on the other hand started the league on a high with a 4-0 route of Linare but were held to a goalless draw last weekend by Sefotha-fotha.

Likhopo coach Halemakale Mahlaha admitted that his side hasn’t been playing well after losing their last two matches.

He however, said his charges are ready for the task against Matlama and are eying to register their first win.

“We didn’t play well in our last two matches and we made some silly mistakes that saw us losing those matches,” Mahlaha said.

“However, we have been working hard on our weaknesses and the response has been positive from my boys so I am hopeful for positive results.”

Likhopo narrowly escaped relegation last season as they emerged victorious from relegation play offs against Lithabaneng Golden and Ketane.

However, Mahlaha said it was still too early to start panicking now about relegation what is important is for them to start winning their matches.

“This team is made up of young players mostly so we wouldn’t want to put them under any pressure. We have just played two matches so I think it’s still early to be panicking about relegation but we should rather channel all our strengths in ensuring that we start winning our matches,” he said.

The former Lioli mentor said he is aware that Matlama won’t be push overs as they also struggled last weekend.

“We are playing one of the best sides in the country and many see them as title contenders so we can’t afford to undermine them. The boys know what’s coming their way and are ready to fight once gain for this (Likhopo) emblem,” Mahlaha said.

Matlama coach Thabile Secker on the other hand said he was worried about the unavailability of eight of his regular players this weekend for various reasons.

Jane Thabantso, Phafa Tšosane and Lehlomela Ramabele are out due to work commitments in eSwatini while the five foreigners namely Teboho Lillane, Fidel Ntoya, Michael Mireku, Patrick Nyarko and Makume Theletsane are not yet registered as their International Transfer Certificates are yet to be acquired.

“We are trying to prepare for this match against a wounded Likhopo but the challenge is eight of my players are unavailable for selection on Sunday due to work commitments while some are waiting for their ITCs. I do not even know why the ITCs are not yet out,” Secker said.

Secker said the unavailability of some of his players has dented his side’s psychological state but said they are working hard to ensure the available players are in shape for the forthcoming game.

“If five or six regular players are absent that obviously will affect the rest of the team but we are trying to work with the available players and get them ready for this match,” Secker said.

In other league matches today LCS play Majantja to complete a double header at LCS Ground.

New comers Galaxy travel to Quthing to play Liphakoe who are also in their search for the first win after losing against LMPS and LCS.

Linare host Swallows at Maputsoe DIFA Ground today.

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