THE 2018/19 Econet Premier League season will go down in the history books among the most competitive and exciting campaigns in recent years.
The destiny of the title had to be decided on the last day with Matlama edging Bantu by a thin two points to clinch the title.
It was a season to savour and one which certainly lived up to the league’s elite status and as the dust settles and Matlama celebrates their triumph, we look at the individual performances and select the Sunday Express team of the season.
Thabiso Lichaba: The Bantu shot stopper had a terrific season conceding just 11 goals throughout the season.
The former under-20 goalkeeper grew in confidence this season and he was one of James Madidilane’s key players having played most of the matches this season. He also participated in the CAF Champions League, where he rose to the occasion by saving two penalties to help his side prevail 4-2 over Botswana’s Township Rollers to become the first Lesotho team to advance to the second phase of the tournament in almost two decades.
John Mohai: Also had a stellar season playing from the right back position for Matlama. Mohai, who also played for the national under-20 team was instrumental in ensuring that Matlama win their matches towards ultimately winning their 10th league title. Mbazo, as the hard tackling defender is affectionately known, has easily beaten the likes of Bantu defender Thabo Lesaoana into Sunday Express’ team of the season.
Teboho Ntlama: In his debut season with one of the country’s big guns, Lioli, Ntlama proved his worth cementing his place in the side’s starting line-up. This is a position which has for the past three seasons been occupied by Lesotho international Bokang Sello, who left Tse Nala for Bantu at the start of the season.
Mkhwanazi Mkhwanazi: Why he was not selected in the senior national team which played in the AFCON qualifiers remains a mystery but the Bantu defender was a pillar in Madidilane’s team, which finished second behind Matlama and conceded the least number of goals in the just ended season.
Rethabile Mokokoana: The left footed centre back was on top of his form this season. His partnership with Lisema Lebokollane was impressive. Had it not been for Mkhwanazi’s performance, the duo would have made the team. Mokokoane was instrumental for Matlama not only in defending but he was also crucial in launching attacks as he was sure footed and helped the team in breaks.
Kefuoe Mahula: A rock in the heart of Matlama’s midfield, Mahula gave cover to defenders while at the same time helping with his fluid passing in attack. Mahula was consistent and disciplined this season and was also exceptional in breaking the opponents’ attacks.
Neo Mokhachane: Mokhachane hit the ground running in his debut season in the elite league scoring in the dying minutes to secure Bantu a point against Sefotha-fotha in the first match of the season. The former Ace Maseru winger never looked back and kept improving under the tutelage of Madidilane. Mokhachane also mesmerised defenders with his speed and skill operating on the right wing.
Tšepo Toloane: Playing just ahead of Mahula in the centre of the park for our fantasy team will be LDF and Likuena midfielder Toloane, who was instrumental in seeing LDF finishing in the top four and also leading them to the LNIG Top8 trophy. Toloane was instrumental for the army side dictating its progression and was eventually called into the national team. He also occasionally scored crucial goals for Sohle-sohle.
Litšepe Marabe: Operating mainly on the left wing, Marabe gave defenders a torrid time by providing assists and also scoring goals to bolster Bantu’s chase for their third successive season. Although Bantu eventually settled for the second place, it was players like Marabe who strengthened the former champions’ case.
Motebang Sera: The league’s top scorer with 19 goals will no doubt lead our fantasy team’s strike force. His ability to score goals and position himself well has made him one of the deadliest players in the domestic league.
Sera showed a lot of hunger this season and it’s not surprising that he managed to score such a huge number of goals for Matlama this season helping Tse Putsoa win the coveted league title for the record 10th time.
Tšepang Makapa: The Liphakoe attacker had a stellar season as well under new coach Thabo Tšutšulupa and played a key role in helping Liphakoe to finish in the top eight for the first time ever since they regained promotion into the elite league four seasons back.
The following players also had an outstanding season and only settle for the bench due to the limited spaces available.
Goalkeeper: Monaheng Ramalefane (Matlama)
Defenders: Basia Makepe (LMPS), Lisema Lebokollane (Matlama), Seeiso Lerotholi (Kick4Life), Tuntu Moroahae (Likhopo).
Midfielders: Mokoteli Mohapi (Kick4Life), Hlompho Kalake, Lindokuhle Phungulwa (Bantu), Bushy Moletsane, Mabuti Potloane, Jane Thabantšo (Matlama), Thato Tšoene (Sefotha-fotha), Letlatsa Moshoeshoe, Koete Mohloai (LDF).
Strikers: Sweertbirth Kum (Lioli), Tšeliso Botsane (Kick4Life).