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Tough premier league season beckons


Moorosi Tsiane

THE Vodacom Premier League roared into life last weekend, and if the results from the opening round of matches are anything to go by, we are in for the toughest domestic season yet.

The matches produced plenty of upsets with some of the so-called big teams losing to premiership newcomers and minnows.

Lioli supporters were left shell-shocked after the defending champions got their campaign off to a bad start with a 0-1 loss to LMPS. On the other hand, Kick4Life got the better of Likhopo with a 2-0 win to wrap up Saturday’s matches.

On Sunday, rookies Sky Battalion debuted in style beating Linare 0-1 away while Liphakoe registered a 1-0 win over last season’s third-placed LCS. Sundawana played to a goalless draw with LDF.

Matlama welcomed returnees Butha-Buthe Warriors with a 2-1 victory while the highlight of the weekend was Bantu’s 3-1 win over Rovers.

Of the matches I watched over the weekend, I will focus on the Bantu-Rovers and LMPS-Lioli games.

For a team that almost failed to make the top8 last season, Bantu began its 2016/17 season well.

I know it might be premature for supporters of the Mafeteng-based outfit to start celebrating, but Bantu really look like the team to beat this season.

A Matšo Matebele appear to have finally found their feet and have a balanced team with young and experienced campaigners.

In their match against Rovers, Bantu did not have a good first half and Dynamites were all over them.

But they improved in the second half with the coaching duo of South African national James Madidilane and Bob Mafoso proving their worth.

It had been a while since I had seen Bantu playing such fluid football and with so much purpose. Madidilane proved his critics wrong by organising a robust side, and I believe he has brought hope to Makaota after a disastrous season where they finished seventh in the 14-team league.

Their tactical awareness was on point in the second half and the mobility of the players was just superb.

The new players also seemed to have fitted in well in the black and yellow colours, particularly winger Moloisane Ramasimong who was a thorn in the Rovers’ defence.

However, the same cannot be said of the defending champions, Lioli.

Their mobility against LMPS left a lot to be desired, as was their lack of creativity in the middle of the park where they could not break their opponents’ resolute defence.

It is about time the Teyateyaneng-based outfit rest the veteran midfield maestro Bushy Moletsane.

There is no doubt he has been an asset for Tse Nala since he joined, but age appears to be catching up with him and he is no longer the Bushy we used to know. He is also prone to injuries – one of the factors that could be hampering his performances.

Lioli’s technical department has to quickly find a way out of this situation otherwise I foresee a disastrous season ahead for the team that won the league and Top4 cup double last season.

The police side, on the other hand, impressed with their tactical discipline which compared favourably to last season.

I think the addition of former Bantu technical director Mosito Matela to the technical team was a wise move that will benefit them going forward.

While there is still more work to do when it comes to attacking and converting chances, it looks like it is going to be one of their best seasons and LMPS supporters might as well start getting used to giant-killing acts.





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