|Contrasting fortunes... Matlama and Lioli|
Three weeks into the new season and the real challengers for the Vodacom Premier League title will begin to emerge.
At the beginning of the season the teams to watch were Bantu, Lioli, Matlama, Likhopo and LCS. This hasn’t changed although defeats for Matlama and Likhopo this weekend would see an early dent in their ambitions to claim Lesotho’s top football prize come next May.
Of these title contenders, Lioli, have certainly made the brightest start. After disposing of LMPS and LDF in their opening two games Tse Nala face their biggest test so far when they host champions LCS at the Lioli Stadium on Sunday.
Lioli didn’t make many signings in the off-season but they seem to have made the ones they needed. Tšoanelo Koetle, signed from Matlama, has been a revelation in midfield in his first two games while Liteboho Mokhehle will provide quality competition for Mohau Kuenane between the sticks, judging by his performances so far this season.
Sunday also sees another big clash when Bantu host Likhopo in Mafeteng. Likhopo suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted Qoaling Highlanders last weekend but such is the talent in their squad Motlatsi Shale’s side still have to be considered a title shot. This match, though, against Bantu – many people’s favourites for the title – will show if Likhopo really have what it takes to run the race this season.
In other games, Linare will be looking to build on their impressive 4-1 win over Joy last week when they travel to face another Leribe rival, Mpharane Celtic, tomorrow. Star attackers Mabuti Potloane and new record signing Pali Tšalong each grabbed a brace in the rout of Mpharane Celtic and Tse Tala will be looking to continue in the same vein as they seek to press home their own case in the title race.
Also tomorrow, new boys Qoaling Highlanders host Joy buoyed by their first ever win in Lesotho football’s top-flight, a 2-1 win over Likhopo last Sunday.
In the other league games this weekend, Matlama will be looking to get their season back on track after the monkeyshines of Mafeteng when they play host to new boys Nyenye Rovers who are themselves looking for their first win, and goal, since returning to the top-flight. In the weekend’s last match, rivals LMPS and LDF clash at the PTC Grounds on Sunday.
This weekend’s fixtures
Saturday, 22 September
Qoaling Highlanders v Joy, Mpharane Celtic v Linare
Sunday, 23 September
Lioli v LCS, Matlama v Nyenye Rovers, Bantu v Likhopo, LMPS v LDF