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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tribute to April ‘Styles’ Phumo

April ‘Styles’ Phumo
1937 – 2011

April 'Styles' Phumo

“When South Africa was readmitted to international football, Bra Styles introduced us to Lesotho football. At that time Bra Styles was one of the top coaches in Lesotho. We have lost one of the highly qualified coaches on the continent. He was highly educated when it came to coaching education on the continent and recognised as an instructor by CAF and Fifa.” – Premier Soccer League chairman, Orlando Pirates chairman, Irvin Khoza

“I was honoured to meet him at Arsenal. Had read a lot about him and saw his achievements in South Africa. Bless his soul. Rest in peace.” – Ukeje Ezenwa Maduabuchi, football fan

“Bra Styles has been sick for some time but we never thought he would leave us so early. I used to visit him at Edenvale Hospital where he always wanted me to bring him Chinese food. We were hoping he would recover. Bra Styles was very passionate about coaching. Most coaches in Africa, including myself, learnt a lot from him.” – Former Bafana Bafana coach Stanley ‘Screamer’ Tshabalala

“He was a professional par excellence. Bra Styles used to coach my club when we were still in the PSL. He was such a wonderful coach to work with. The man was passionate about development. He made a great contribution to South African football, especially at my team where groomed a lot of youngsters. He didn't pick his team on names, but selected hard-working players. I also respected him in terms of his working with assistant coaches. He always involved them and never treated them as ball boys.” – Former Ria Stars chairperson Ria Ledwaba

“You were not only a coach but a friend, brother, father, mentor, role model statesman. Words fail to describe the role you played in our lives. You will forever be remembered. I am what I am today as a result of Styles Phumo.” – Lesotho Football Association vice-president Tlholo Letete

Or simply 'Bra Styles'
“This is a difficult time for his family and friends, and as a football association we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to all of them in this hour of need. Phumo was one of the best coaches ever to set foot in this country, and was a great educator, very passionate about the game.” – Safa president Kirsten Nematandani

“He was a great coach, friend, mentor, comedian… he touched so many lives in so many ways. He will be dearly missed. Personally, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for his guidance. I am devastated.” – Former Arsenal, Lesotho goalkeeper and captain Thabane Sutu

“He was a father figure to me and always encouraged me to work hard so as to play for Bafana Bafana one day. I was happy that I ended up meeting him again when I started playing for Bafana.” – Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi

Makoanyane XI Squad: Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships

Lesotho Under-20 Squad
Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships, in Botswana

December 1 to 10

Kananelo Makhoane
Matebele Mareka
Salebone Lekhooa
Mkwanazi Motlomelo
Sepiriti Malefane
Tumisang Bereng
Mafa Moremoholo
Motiki Mohale
Tšoanelo Koetle
Thabiso Mohapi
Mohau Rammoneng
Thuso Mankoane
Teboho Lekhooa
Jeremia Kamele
Lebajoa Mosehlenyane
Lehlomela Ramabele
Litšepe Marabe
Tsebang Lebata
Montoeli Sonopo
Motlalepula Chabeli

Group B Schedule
Friday, December 2: Seychelles vs. Malawi
Sunday, December 4: Lesotho vs. Malawi
Monday, December 5: Lesotho vs. Seychelles

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular Finals

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular Finals
Sunday, 27 November
Setsoto Stadium

Third-place playoff
Maduma 1-5 LDF

Matlama 1-1 Bantu
(Final will be replayed)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular semi-finals: Results

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular semi-finals
Saturday, 26 November
Setsoto Stadium
Matlama 2-1 LDF
Bantu 2-0 Maduma

Setsoto Stadium
Third-place playoff
Maduma vs. LDF

Matlama vs. Bantu

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular Finale: Preview

Here’s a preview of the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular finale. Maduma, Bantu, Matlama and LDF are the gladiators, the Setsoto Stadium the coliseum.

The Underdogs
Maduma undoubtedly go into the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular finale as the underdogs.
Despite the Khukhune side’s heroic comeback against Linare in the quarterfinals, where they fought back to win on away-goals, Maduma still rank as outsiders for the M360 000 Soccer Spectacular jackpot.
Their task isn’t made any easier by having to face Lesotho’s form team, Bantu, in the semi-final.
But such is the character of Maduma the team’s assistant coach Ntsasana Phera says that’s just the way they like it. According to Phera it is a chance to showcase themselves on the biggest stage of all.
“It’s just a normal game for us; our motto is to take one game at a time. What we know is that this is a chance to display what Maduma is all about and show that we deserve to be on the stage,” Phera says. “When you look, Bantu is a team with sponsors and big names. We don’t have those things; it is a big game for us. We have motivation do well,” Phera says.
Maduma’s trademark since their promotion to the top league last year has been their determination backed up their fanatic supporters who are likely to travel down from Butha-Buthe in their numbers.
“Our strategies are many. We always take things from our practice sessions,” Phera says. Our attacking is brilliant. After we lost 1-0 to Linare (in the first leg) we still believed we could win,” he says.
“The spirit is too high, no words can explain the moral in the team,” he adds.
And at the end of the day Phera insists Maduma are not in the final four to make up the numbers adding a secret surprise will inspire them to victory.
“As a team we never have any worries about anything off the field thanks to our management and that’s what helps us. This time there is something special that the management has got for the players and it will motivate them even more,” he says.
“Against Bantu it’s a final before a final,” Phera says. “Our mission is to win the cup.”
The Favourites
Bantu to many come into the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular finals weekend as the favourites.
After disposing of league champions LCS in the previous round A Matšo Matebele have every right to be considered as such. It has been a wonderful start to the season for Bantu.
Last month the Mafeteng giants won the Independence Cup, their first trophy since 1997 and the guidance of Ntebele “Tata” Taole, Bantu have assumed an air of invincibility. They are Lesotho’s new glamour team and this weekend will be looking to add a second major trophy to the cabinet in as many months.
“We are prepared, our aim is to win and to take the cup,” Taole says simply.
Bantu were involved in a tough battle against LCS on Sunday, only winning on penalties, while Maduma have been rested for two weeks. But Taole says this would not hamper his side. “It’s a big advantage on our side,” Taole says.
Another big advantage, Taole says, is the attitude of the team.
“The luck I had when I joined Bantu was that I found players who want to learn and who listen,” Taole said.
“On Saturday we are going to play a Maduma team that I haven’t seen for two years,” Taole adds. “But their way is similar to Masheshena. They don’t know a different type of game. That is what I told my players, if we come with something different no can come to us and beat us.”
A Bantu win over Maduma could set up a storybook final against Taole’s former side Matlama in the final. Tse Putsoa play LDF in the other semi-final. But Taole is focused only on Maduma.
“I’m just looking at Maduma, nobody else,” Taole says. “The luck I have is the understanding in this Bantu team. I can bring in any player and he will do the same brilliant job,” Taole says.
Though Bantu are favoured, Taole believes winning the Independence Cup won’t count for much come game-day.
“We talked about it. We have to forget about the (Independence) cup because it has passed,” Taole says. “Our only focus is to win the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular. The other cup in Mafeteng is lonely and it needs a friend.”
The ‘Home Team’
For Matlama winning is in the club’s DNA, they are Lesotho’s most decorated side after all. It is this culture many feel can drive Tse Putsoa to another historic achievement.
But more than anything, at the weekend at Setsoto it will be their home support that could make the most difference.
On Sunday against Lioli when things got tough the crowd lifted Matlama.
Matlama communications and marketing manager Lesolle Phalatsi and his team will be the ones responsible for bringing out the sea of blue which saw Matlama beat SuperSport United at Setsoto in February.
“We have to win,” Phalatsi says, adding LDF will be tricky opponents.
“LDF are more of a closed book than us. You can’t put your finger on how they play and you can’t really say you have a game-plan,” Phalatsi says. “LDF is the hardest team to play against when you are Matlama, not because they play great football but because it’s hard to identify how to counteract them. We on the other hand are an open book,” Phalatsi adds.
But playing at the Setsoto is home for Matlama.
“The fact that we are playing at Setsoto is a major advantage. Matlama is used to the big stage. Pali (Tšalong), Nkau (Lerotholi), Tšoanelo (Koetle) Dlomo (Monapathi), Tender (Thapelo Mokhehle) even the younger players Tšeliso Ramathe, Jane (Thabantšo) are regulars in the Under-20 side,” Phalatsi says. “Our big stage temperament is huge.”
Playing on the Setsoto turf will also helps Matlama play their traditional passing football. “It helps us and it suits us more than people who just kick the ball forward,” Phalatsi says.
In the end it Matlama’s key is their home support. Phalatsi says Setsoto will be a sea of blue and it will be celebrating victory come Sunday evening.
“You haven’t seen the best of Matlama’s support. You will see it on Saturday and Sunday. Our players will give it a run and I don’t think there’s a team that will beat Matlama with our twelfth man,” Phalatsi says.
The Dark-horses
LDF are always there in the thick of the action and here they are again battling in the final stages of a major tournament. Winning is the culture of the team. But one thing is beginning to irritate Sohle-Sohle. Since winning the league in 2004 LDF have won just one trophy, the Buddie Top 4 in 2008. It is too long a period for a team whose mere mention once struck fear into opposition.
Coach Motheo Mohapi was part of the LDF side which dominated Lesotho football in the nineties and he is out to return them to their glory days.
But first the Ratjomose side have to beat Matlama, a side it has been said has the upper hand over LDF.
“I can’t remember when Matlama have had the upper-hand over us. Last season we beat them twice,” Mohapi says. “Even so cup games are different, and we are prepared for a new game. As LDF we want to win every cup.”
“Every game we play there is pressure. Being in a big team like LDF that is something we are used to. It should be under control, the fear to do well should be there but it shouldn’t overcome us,” Mohapi says.
The main thing about LDF is their teamwork.
“Our advantage is that LDF doesn’t have big names. It makes us a unit,” Mohapi says.
LDF are starting to gel too. Last season LDF started building a new team and now sitting at the top of the league it looks like its coming together.
“We are starting to gel. Every game last season we put in one or two new players and now they are used to playing for LDF,” Mohapi says.
LDF are the dark horses for the title.
“Without any doubt (we can win). I have seen the way the players have trained, they are ready,” Mohapi says. “Hopefully they can continue it into the match and if they can win this cup. The players deserve it.”

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular semi-finals
Saturday, 26 November
Setsoto Stadium
Matlama vs. LDF
Bantu vs. Maduma
Matlama vs LDF

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lesotho moves up 14 places in Fifa rankings

Lesotho has moved up 14 places to 148th in Fifa’s latest world rankings released today.  The ranking is Lesotho’s highest since a same 148 ranking in March last year.

The improved ranking comes courtesy of Lesotho’s Fifa World Cup preliminary qualifying success over Burundi last week. Likuena won the tie 3-2 on aggregate to progress to the group stage of 2014 World Cup qualifying.

Lesotho defeated Burundi 1-0 in the first leg at home thanks to a Lehlomela Ramabele goal. The result was Likuena’s first competitive international win since a 3-1 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier victory over Niger in March 2007.

In the second leg Lesotho took a 2-0 first half lead through Thapelo Tale and Bokang Mothoana. The hosts rallied to draw 2-2 but couldn’t stop Likuena progressing to a group alongside Ghana, Zambia and Sudan.

In August Lesotho’s ranking dropped to an all-time low 185th.

This was mainly thanks to the disbanding of the team last February by the Lesotho Football Association. Lefa said it would focus instead on the country’s youth team to rebuild for the future. As a result Lesotho did not take part in the 2012 Afcon qualifiers and only returned to the international fold three months ago.

The top three in Fifa’s ranking table meanwhile has remained unchanged. World champions Spain remain top of the tree followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

In fourth place is Copa America champion Uruguay with England fifth and Brazil sixth.

*Matches played in the past month
Burundi 2-2 Lesotho
Fifa World Cup Qualifier
Lesotho 1-0 Burundi
Fifa World Cup Qualifier
Lesotho 0-3 DR Congo
Namibia 0-0 Lesotho

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lesotho edged out by Kenya

Kenya……………….(2) 2
Lesotho………….….(0) 0
Lesotho’s under-20 women’s team face an uphill task to make it through to the next round of 2012 Fifa Under-20 World Cup qualifying after a 2-0 loss away to Kenya on Friday.
The result in Nairobi means Lesotho have to score at least twice in the second leg at the Setsoto Stadium in a fortnight’s time to have any chance of progressing. The qualifiers are to determine the 16 countries to take part in the youth World Cup in Uzbekistan in 2012.
The damage in Nairobi was done early as the hosts struck twice within the first 30 minutes of the game. Kenya made their pressure count as early as the 5th minute thanks to a goal by Sharon Bushenei. Their lead was then doubled in the 27th minute by Wendy Ochieng.
Despite recovering, Puseletso Mokhotsi’s team was unable to hit back and grab the all-important away goal.
Speaking after the match, the side’s manager Tlholo Letete said Lesotho recovered well but squandered several openings.
“We conceded early goals. Despite the fact that the Kenyan’s had a physical advantage, we were able to contain them for the better part of the game,” Letete said. He added: “We did not play to our full potential but we were able to create some mouth-watering chances.”
Lesotho has a daunting task to progress but Letete remained hopeful. With the support of the home crowd, he said, Lesotho could progress to the next round adding the young ladies team would draw on Likuena’s recent success over Burundi for inspiration. “The girls have big hearts and have a strong belief that with the positives drawn from this game and the support of Basotho (in the second leg) they will be able to beat Kenya and proceed to the next stage,” Letete said.
The next stage of African qualifying begins in February next year.

Vodacom Soccer Spectacular Results

2011 Vodacom Soccer Spectacular
Quarterfinal second legs
Sunday, November 20

At the Setsoto Stadium, Maseru
Matlama 1-1 Lioli
Matlama win 2-1 on aggregate

At the Bantu Stadium, Mafeteng
Bantu 0-0 LCS
0-0 on aggregate
Bantu win 5-4 on penalties

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Conversation: With Tumelo Matsinyane

Jozi-based Tumelo Matsinyane is a Manchester United supporter. Enough said there. After United’s tragic 6-1 loss to bitter rivals City last month, Tumelo, seeking solace from loved ones, called home to Lesotho. Unfortunately, in his depression, Tumelo dialled the wrong number and found himself caught up in a conversation with that rowdy Mokhotlong-native Malome Thabiso – Selepe Se Chesang.

Tumelo calling home?

It was evident from the Stoke City game that Man United’s defence needed some serious attention. The problem is that Sir Alex – being the veteran in modern day football – underestimated the power and strength of his opponents. Stoke deserved three points on that day at the Britannia, so did Norwich when they visited Old Trafford. I would say the same for Chelsea too, who ought to have had a draw against United, but didn’t, thanks to Torres.

The problem is not with Sir Alex changing squads all the time (resting players as they claim) but with United’s defence. United are good going forward but struggle against teams that attack them from the first whistle. The last three games have shown us that United are beatable and, most importantly, that people like Rio and Evans need to go as soon as possible.

But although Man City won but I’m still not convinced they will take the title. The thing with the English Premiership is that most teams start well and then suddenly after 15 games begin to stumble. Remember how Chelsea started the season last year? Well, most people were certain that Chelsea would be crowned champions, but United took it from them in the end. I still think in many ways it will be a two-way chase between Chelsea and Man United.

Malome Thabiso

Hmm... I was agreeing with you until that last part... I believe City are here to stay. They have the players and a different type of manager to what Chelsea had with Ancelotti. Mancini is a guy who wants to win, at all costs. I won’t say he’s in the Jose Mourinho league yet, but he isn’t afraid to play five defenders if he has to. That’s why in Italy he romped the league for a couple of years – because he knows how to win leagues.

Roberto "Winner" Mancini
I don’t think it will be a cakewalk for City like people seem be expecting – looking at their start and this five point gap they have built up – but certainly City will be there at the end of the season; especially considering, as you say, the continued disintegration of the Manchester United defensive structure.

It’s something that’s has been pointed out, that since Carlos Queiroz left the club United have turned a blind eye to the arts of defending. The dude apparently was a stickler for defence. He was in charge of the team’s defensive structure and he would drill the United defence like a sergeant. That’s that time when United never looked like they would concede a goal… ever! And that’s when they were at their intimidating best.


Well I get your point, but truth be told Man City haven’t played like a team worthy of winning the Premiership yet. They may be gelling well now, but I perceive them as another Tottenham, full of surprises but when you expect them to win they let you down. Let’s hope, for their sake, this time around I’m wrong.

Man United think they are the best, the 8-2 drubbing of Arsenal, the magical comebacks in the Champions League and beating a B-side Barca team (in 2008) has made them think they can conquer the world. This is dangerous.

But I don’t see Man City taking the league title. Mancini is good, but sometimes he’s let down by his players.

And while no team has shown consistency yet except the two Manchester teams, there are still many games left and anything can happen. Arsenal is slowly climbing up the ladder and Chelsea still have the quality and know-how when it comes to winning trophies. I think we may have a photo-finish like we did last season’s South African Premier Soccer League.

Jonny Evans, the new Aaron
Jonny Evans really worries me in the defence by the way – always making mistakes. This is another Aaron Mokoena in the making and the sooner he goes the better. Phil Jones is doing pretty well but Nani isn’t performing like he was last season and it’s clear that Man United rely on wingers far too much.

Malome Thabiso

You have a point there; United have, one way or the other, relied heavily on wing play in recent years, and that’s not just on the wingers, but on the cohesion (both offensively and defensively) between the wingers and fullbacks. That doesn’t seem to be there this season and it was exposed by City.

I think it’s still early to write off Rio too. He’s still more suitable against slick opponents such as Arsenal and even Barcelona.

I thing I definitely agree with is that there’s going to be a photo-finish at the end of the season. Should be exciting!

Likuena beat Burundi

2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifier
Preliminary round, second leg
Tuesday, November 15
Bujumbura, Burundi
Burundi 2-2 Lesotho
Lesotho wins 3-2 on aggregate
Thapelo Tale, Bokang Mothoana

Likuena Starting Line-up
1. Mohau Kuenane
2. Thabo Masualle
3. Bokang Mothoana
4. Nkau Lerotholi
5. Moitheri Ntobo (captain)
6. Tlali Maile
7. Ralekoti Mokhahlane
8. Motlalepula Mofolo
9. Lehlomela Ramabele
10. Thapelo Tale
11. Katleho Moleko

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Likuena vs Burundi: Line-ups

2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifier
Preliminary round
Lesotho vs. Burundi
Friday, November 11
Setsoto Stadium, Maseru

Likuena starting XI
Mohau Kuenane – Thabo Masualle, Nkau Lerotholi, Moitheri Ntobo (captain), Bokang Mothoana – Motlalepula Mofolo, Ralekoti Mokhahlane, Bushy Moletsane, Katleho Moleko –Thulo Ranchobe, Lehlomela Ramabele

Thapelo Tale on for Thulo Ranchobe
Lawrence Molengoane on for Bushy Moletsane

Starting XI
22. Saidi Nduwimana
10. Saidi Ntibazonkiza
3. Hassas Hakizimana
17. Dugary Ndabashinze
9. Laudit Mavugo
12. Cedric Amissi
14. Floribert Ndayisaba
4. Valery Nahayo
11. Emery Nimubona
16. Pierre Kwizera
15. Gilbert Kaze
2. Gael Duhayindavyi
5. Frederic Nsabuyumva
6. Saidi Salemani
13. Steve Nzigamasabo
1. Vladimir Niyonkuru
7. Didier Kavumbagu
8. Denis Kalala Masumbuko

2014 Fifa World Cup preliminary qualifying Africa: Results

2014 Fifa World Cup preliminary qualifying - Africa 
Friday, November 11

Comoros 0-1 Mozambique
Djibouti 0-4 Namibia
Eritrea 1-1 Rwanda
Seychelles 0-3 Kenya
Swaziland 1-3 DR Congo
Chad 1-2 Tanzania
Equatorial Guinea 2-0 Madagascar
Sao Tome e Principe 0-5 Congo
Guinea-Bissau 1-1 Togo
Lesotho 1-0 Burundi

Saturday, November 12
Somalia 0-0 Ethiopia