Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dates set for Lesotho’s 2019 AFCON double header against Uganda in October

Likuena face a crucial 2019 AFCON qualifying double
 header against Uganda in October...

The dates for Lesotho’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier double header against Uganda next month have been confirmed.

Likuena will face Uganda away on Saturday 13 October at the Mandela National Stadium in Namboole. The Cranes will then play Likuena on Tuesday 16 October at Setsoto Stadium.

Uganda (with 4 points) and Lesotho (2 points) are the top two sides in Group L after two games.

Likuena started their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Tanzania in June 2017 before a goalless draw with Cape Verde at Setsoto Stadium two weeks ago.

The other two teams in the group, Cape Verde and Tanzania, will also faceoff in a double header clash next month with Tanzania travelling away first.

The top two teams from Group L at the end of qualification next March will advance to the 2019 AFCON finals in Cameroon next June. Next year’s AFCON will be the first time the continental showpiece is contested by 24 nations.

Group L standings:


P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts.
1
Uganda
2
1
1
0
1
0
1
4
2
Lesotho
2
0
2
0
2
2
0
2
3
Tanzania
2
0
2
0
1
1
0
2
4
Cape Verde
2
0
1
1
1
2
-1
1

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Defending NBL champions Lerotholi Polytechnic off to bright start

The 2018/19 National Basketball League season got underway this past weekend
and the opening round of action did not disappoint...

Defending National Basketball League (NBL) champions Lerotholi Polytechnic got their title defence off to a bright start with a double dose of wins on the opening weekend of the 2018/19 NBL season.

Fokothi started things off with a nail-baiting 40-39 win over NUL Rovers in the season opening game on Friday night at Lehakoe, a game which was closer than expected.

Lerotholi then faced league new boys Tigers on Saturday but this time things were not as tight as the champions demolished their opponents 83-43.

The wins put Lerotholi on top of the A-Division’s Southern Conference after the first weekend of action as the only team to play twice and win twice.

NUL Rovers also played twice and they recovered from their Friday night disappointment against Lerotholi to wallop Roma 52-30 on Saturday at NUL.

The most high-profile fixture of the weekend was a Northern Conference clash on Sunday between Lichocha Shooting Rifles – runners up in the last two NBL Finals – and 2016 champions KTA All-Stars.

The game wasn’t close, however, as Lichocha outclassed KTA 54-35, the first major result in a season promises to be a fascinating one.

This year the fast-growing NBL has its most-ever registered teams in the league – 14.

The consequence is that the NBL’s top-flight A-Division has been divided into two streams, the North and South conferences.

Each conference has seven teams and at the end of the season the top two sides from each stream will advance to the four-team championship playoffs to determine the 2018/19 NBL champion.


NBL A-Division
Southern Conference
Northern Conference
Lerotholi Polytechnic
NUL Rovers
Tigers
Bokamoso South
Mafeteng
Roma
BBH
Lichocha Shooting Rifles
KTA All-Stars
Botho University
Limkokwing
Bokamoso North
T98
Khubestate


Meanwhile, in the Ladies League there were weekend wins for Bokamoso North and Lerotholi while NUL Rovers and Lichocha claimed wins by forfeit after their opponents (Roma and KTA respectively) failed to show up for their games.

National Basketball League Weekend Results:
Friday at Lehakoe:
Lerotholi Polytechnic 40-39 NUL Rovers

Saturday at NUL:
A-Division:
Khubestate 40-63 T98
Limkokwing University 27-52 Bokamoso North
NUL Rovers 52-30 Roma
BBH 0-20 Bokamoso South (BBH lost by forfeit)
Ladies Division:
Limkokwing 11-42 Bokamoso North
NUL Rovers 20-0 Roma (Roma lost by forfeit)

Sunday at Lehakoe:
A-Division:
Lichocha Shooting Rifles 54-35 KTA All-Stars
Tigers 43-83 Lerotholi Polytechnic
Ladies Division:
Lichocha Shooting Rifles 20-0 KTA All-Stars (KTA lost by forfeit)
Tigers 37-38 Lerotholi Polytechnic

SA All-Stars crowned 2018 Lesotho Rugby Sevens champions

Setsoto Stadium was the place to be for rugby lovers
this past weekend...

South Africa All-Stars beat the Blue Bulls in an all-South African final to win the Lesotho Rugby Sevens tournament held at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.

After scraping through the semi-finals, the SA All-Stars team delivered a stylish performance to see off the Bulls 33-7 in a one-sided Cup final at the national stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Zambia, who won their home Sevens tournament in Lusaka a few weeks ago, finished third in the tournament after beating home favourites Maseru Select 35-5 in the bronze medal clash.

Lesotho’s senior side, Likatola, also ended off the tournament with a defeat when they went down 19-12 to the Spartans Barbarians in the Trophy final.

Earlier on Sunday’s finals day, the SA All-Stars and Zambia gave the crowd a thrilling semi-final which was decided by just two points. All-Stars prevailed 21-19 despite a spirited performance by the Zambia.

In the other semi-final the Blue Bulls beat the Lesotho Invitational team 21-10. The 2018 Lesotho Rugby Sevens was the second edition of the championship which was launched last year and was won by Zimbabwe.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Econet Premier League is back

Week 1 Review
The Econet Premier League is back...

Life is worth living again for Lesotho football fans.

After almost three months of boredom the Econet Premier League returned with a bang at the weekend.

There were some surprises, such as Sefotha-fotha holding champions Bantu to a draw, and some upsets like Lioli losing to Kick4Life. All in all, however, it was an interesting return for Lesotho’s top-flight.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 1.

The Good:
Matlama…
Despite their convincing 4-0 win over Linare on Sunday, it is still early to consider Matlama genuine title contenders; 1) the season is still too young and 2) Matlama remain too inconsistent to be trusted fully; Tse Putsoa still have to prove they can be consistent over an extended period of time.

Nevertheless, one known about Matlama is that on their day Tse Putsoa can outclass any team in the league and they proved it again in Maputsoe in Thabile Secker’s first league game in charge.

It was interesting to see how Matlama would fare.

Matlama made an eye-catching start to the season...
Last season Tse Putsoa finished fourth in the Econet Premiership and won the LNIG Top 8 to claim their first trophy in eight years but, surprisingly, it wasn’t enough for Mosito Matela to remain at the helm at Pitso Ground and in came Secker.

Judging from the early returns, Secker is adding a more lethal edge to Matlama who scored the fewest goals of last year’s top four clubs (32).

Matlama looked sharp against Linare employing the 3-5-2 formation Secker has introduced presumably to get the best from the side’s endless array of playmakers that now also includes Bushy Moletsane.

Counting the pre-season Econet Soccer Spectacular, Matlama have scored ten goals in Secker’s first three games in charge and in Maputsoe the damage was done by Phafa Tšosane and Lebajoa Mosehlenyane who each scored a brace.

Mosehlenyane’s continued sizzling form, by the way, is very welcome for Tse Putsoa fans.

The speedster has added a deadly bite to Matlama’s attack since joining the club in January and has taken some of the pressure from Motebang Sera to score.

This attacking variety and force Tse Putsoa now possess is a reason for optimism, especially looking at Matlama’s upcoming fixture list.

Their next four games (two either side of next month’s Independence Cup) are very winnable with Tse Putsoa facing Likhopo and Majantja (who both lost on the opening weekend) and the two promoted sides (Swallows and Galaxy).

It is probable Matlama can go into their Week 6 game against Kick4Life with a perfect record of five wins from five games.

Matlama’s upcoming fixtures:
22 September                        
Sefotha-fotha v Matlama
30 September 
Matlama v Likhopo
20 October
Swallows v Matlama
28 October
Matlama v Galaxy
03 November
Majantja v Matlama
11 November
Matlama v Kick4Life

If that becomes the case then we can start to seriously consider Matlama as contenders to dethrone Bantu.

Tse Putsoa definitely have the talent across the board, from the country’s best young keeper, Monaheng Ramalefane, to a midfield filled with Likuena stars (Tšosane, Moletsane, Kefuoe Mahula, Mabuti, Jane Thaba-Ntšo) to a frontline of Sera and Mosehlenyane.

Matlama just need to prove they can be consistent.

A good start to life under Secker, though.

Kick4Life…
Saturday was a historic day for Kick4Life as they recorded their first-ever win over Lioli in the top-flight, a 2-1 victory at the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium.

Kick4Life’s Premier League record against Lioli:
15-09-18
Lioli 1-2 Kick4Life
W
10-02-18
Kick4Life 1-1 Lioli
D
17-09-17
Lioli 3-1 Kick4Life
L
05-03-17
Lioli 1-0 Kick4Life
L
12-11-16
Kick4Life 1-4 Lioli
L
23-04-16
Kick4Life 0-1 Lioli
L
21-11-15
Lioli 0-0 Kick4Life
D
25-04-15
Lioli 1-0 Kick4Life
L
06-12-14
Kick4Life 0-2 Lioli
L

It was also a good start to life under Bob Mafoso in his first match in charge of Kick4Life and the Old Europa side were deserved winners in the end.

Kick4Life took the lead through Lesotho youth international Bonang Mohapi in 29th minute, and although Lioli equalised close to halftime, another young gem – Tšeliso Botsane – sealed the win for Kick4Life in the 67th minute.

A promising start to the 2018/19 campaign for Mafoso and Kick4Life.

The Okay:
Sefotha-fotha fought tooth and nail against Bantu...
Bantu…
Champions Bantu would have expected to collect all three points when they faced Sefotha-fotha in the opening game of the new season but they almost left with a loss against a side that continued their dogged form from last season.

Bantu were losing until the 86th minute when new signing Neo Mokhachane came to the rescue for A Matšo Matebele to salvage a 1-1 draw.

It was a continuation of Sefotha-fotha’s gritty ways against the champions. In January the Mabote side held Bantu to a 0-0 draw to be one of the few sides to deny A Matšo Matebele a win last season.

Bantu will be concerned with the numerous chances they missed in the second half, an issue we saw a sneak preview to in their 1-0 loss to Liphakoe in the preseason South Tournament two weeks ago.

It is still early, but the champions need to find their shooting boots because they are the hunted now. Next up is Lioli.

The Bad:
Lioli…
A tough start for Lioli who had to face a determined Kick4Life side in their season opener.

However, to lose still represents a bad start for the title hopefuls who have now lost three of their last six league games dating back to April.

Also worrying, Lioli only got on the scoresheet through a penalty by debutant Cameroon striker Kum Bin Swithbert.

It has been a period of upheaval at Tse Nala in recent months (with Lehlohonolo Thotanyana now in charge and Lioli adding ten players in the offseason) and it may take time for things to come together.

Lioli’s last six #EconetPrem games:
29-04-18
Bantu 4-1 Lioli
L
05-05-18
LCS 1-0 Lioli
L
10-05-18
Lioli 3-0 Linare
W
12-05-18
Lioli 3-0 Sefotha-fotha
W
19-05-18
LMPS 1-1 Lioli
D
15-09-18
Lioli 1-2 Kick4Life
L

Unfortunately, time is not a luxury teams with Lioli’s expectations have. And, next up is Bantu. That already feels like a must-win game; at the very least a must-not-lose game.

The pressure is already on.

The Ugly…
Linare
A terrible start for Linare who were completely overpowered by Matlama at home.

The 4-0 beating at the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium also makes it the fourth season in row Tse Tala have started the league campaign with a defeat.

Linare lost 4-1 to Likhopo to start the 2015/16 season, lost 1-0 to Sky Battalion in 2016/17 and 2-0 to Majantja last term.

Weekend Econet Premier League results:
Saturday:
Bantu 1-1 Sefotha-fotha
LDF 1-0 Majantja
Lioli 1-2 Kick4Life
Sunday:
LMPS 1-0 Galaxy
LCS 1-1 Swallows
Liphakoe 2-1 Likhopo
Linare 0-4 Matlama

Week 1 Standings:


P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts.
1
Matlama
1
1
0
0
4
0
4
3
2
Kick4Life
1
1
0
0
2
1
1
3
3
Liphakoe
1
1
0
0
2
1
1
3
4
LDF
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
3
5
LMPS
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
3
6
Bantu
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
7
LCS
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
8
Sefotha-fotha
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
9
Swallows
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
10
Likhopo
1
0
0
1
1
2
-1
0
11
Lioli
1
0
0
1
1
2
-1
0
12
Galaxy
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
13
Majantja
1
0
0
1
0
1
-1
0
14
Linare
1
0
0
1
0
4
-4
0