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Lioli’s bitter pill

Moorosi Tsiane

SHOULD Lioli fans be worried? This is a question that requires serious introspection for the powers that be at the club that will, for the first time in several seasons, walk home empty handed.

This is a club that has enjoyed a great in the recent seasons and how they have fallen so mightily may be reason to worry for their fans.

That the club is one of the biggest spenders makes it even worse.

However, the focal point of the discussion this week is naturally their disastrous game against Bantu last weekend where they were humiliated 4-1.

For a side that is hoping for silverware, Lioli looked uninspired and never had a grip on the game. There was no zeal that is synonymous with a team that is fighting for success, probably because some of the team’s regulars did not take part in the match.

This has given a little traction to the rumour that the match was fixed, allegations that the side’s management says it is investigating.

Prior to the arrival of head coach, Morena Ramorebodi, the Teyateyaneng outfit had the ultimate first pick of players in the country and most players dreamt of donning their maroon and yellow colours for the glory it brought.

Players adored Lioli for the financial security as the club is among the few local teams that pay players monthly stipends. But, unfortunately that adoration now looks like a thing of the past.

If there is one sight Lioli supporters abhor the most, it is that of rivals, Bantu, whom they call the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ after British club, Manchester City, were monikered the same by their arch rivals, Manchester United. Ironically, they have suffered defeat at the hands of the so called ‘Noisy Neighbours’ since the 2012/13 season.

It is too early to give a definitive projection of Lioli’s future, but we must admit it is not looking bright. Ramorebodi needs some more time to get this team into Econet Premier League domination mode. The question is, will he get the opportunity if the negative results continue?

I believe Lioli need to buttress their squad. That is not going to be cheap if they want to acquire the best, not forgetting that they have to find suitors for the players that they need to offload and also, the players have to agree to leave. We still remember how terribly Motlalepula Mofolo’s departure went.

That could mean more unhappy players on the bench and potential revolt in the dressing room. These are processes that any success seeking team often goes through.

The Lioli management needs to act and ensure they have control of their fate in games. It is only when one agrees there is a problem that they are able to resolve it.

Higher ranked teams such as Lioli often win many games before they even step onto the pitch, thanks to the fear that the opponents harbour.

Lioli has definitely benefitted from this factor in several games this season and whenever the fear is not evident in the opposition it always works against the big side. Proof is Lioli’s games against Sefotha-Fotha and Majantja where the sides were just bold and secured draws.

Cheap points that help the top clubs save energy are no longer on offer for Lioli and it’s going to take merciless crushing of the lower-rated clubs in the near future to recover that. My only worry is whether Lioli are capable of doing that.

In conclusion, football is not mathematics and it can’t be calculated in advance. Ramorebodi’s Lioli could just get it right and make their doubters eat their words, but, the worries are too great to ignore.


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