|Celebration time... Lioli fans celebrate another success|
Lioli were crowned 2016 Independence Cup champions after an exciting 1-0 victory over Matlama in the final on Sunday. Tse Nala’s triumph at Setsoto Stadium was sealed by a late goal from midfielder Tšoanelo Koetle and saw Lioli capture this season’s first piece of silverware.
What’s more, the league champions are a cool M150 000 richer this morning thanks to sponsors Standard Lesotho Bank and Metropolitan Lesotho.
Lioli were the most enterprising team all weekend and they began their Independence Cup mission with a stylish 4-1 win over Sundawana in Saturday’s semi-finals.
The win was highlighted by a brilliant first half hattrick from striker Tšepo Lekhooana and first goal for the club for new Tse Nala signing Moshoeshoe Setho. The other semi-final on Saturday between Matlama and LCS was a much closer affair. In an even contested game, the only difference was a Jane Thaba-Ntšo winner for Tse Putsoa.
The results set up the mouth-watering final between Lioli and Matlama and it did not disappoint.
Both sides missed chances to win the game in an enterprising and well-attended affair. However, with the final seemingly headed for penalties, Koetle stepped up to give Lioli the breakthrough and send their loud fans into ecstasy.
The Independence Cup triumph is Lioli’s first trophy under Halemakale Mahlaha who took over as coach in August. Lioli also dominated the tournament’s individual awards. With three goals, Lekhooana won the top goal-scorer award and M2000. Liteboho Mokhehle claimed the goalkeeper of the tournament and M2000 while the player of the tournament went to Lioli playmaker Bushy Moletsane who pocketed M3000.
Sunday was also a noteworthy day in the National Basketball League as the league saw four games at the Lehakoe Club.
In the game of the weekend, Bashana Baheso beat arch-rivals and reigning NBL champions KTA All-Stars 58-50 in an action packed encounter. The win lifted BBH, who won the NBL title in 2015, into third place in the A-Division standings. BBH are two points behind leaders Lichocha Shooting Rifles who won on Friday and one point adrift of Bokamoso South.
KTA, on the other hand, dropped down to sixth place in what has been an unconvincing start to the season by the champions. In the other A-Division games on Sunday at Lehakoe, LCE won by forfeit over Khubestate while Bokamoso North beat Lerotholi Polytechnic 51-43.
In the sole ladies league game, NUL Rovers demolished South Warriors 52-17.