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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Champions Bantu to hold awards gala

Champions Bantu will continue their celebrations on Sunday in Mafeteng
Vodacom Premier League champions Bantu will host an awards show on Sunday at Golden Hotel in Mafeteng. The gala will celebrate the side’s successful 2016/17 season which saw A Matšo Matebele win their second league title in club history.

The awards will start at 11:00.

Bantu, who last won the league in 2014, completed a wonderful 2016/17 campaign earlier this month when they sealed the championship with a last day win over Kick4Life. The Mafeteng giants earned themselves a cool M200,000 for capturing the Vodacom Premier League title, most of which went to the players.

Nevertheless, Bantu communications and marketing manager Motlatsi Mofokeng said the club’s management wanted to honour the players and coaching staff even further after they brought the club success in the year of its 90th birthday celebrations.

“It is the responsibility of the management to motivate the team and we believe the motivation they will get from the awards will work for the team next season,” Mofokeng said.

“Even though the success of the team is a result of unity, individuals have to be honoured for their contribution in their respective positions at the club,” he added.

“The players sacrificed their time with friends and families and dedicated themselves to their work,” Mofokeng continued. “Therefore, now is the time for them to get rewarded for making their supporters and management happy.” 

Bantu’s players were certainly exceptional in the 2016/17 Vodacom premiership season. They won 19 of their 26 league matches, only lost twice and scored the most goals (50).

In the end, A Matšo Matebele collected 62 points to end rivals Lioli’s two-year reign as league champions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Likuena slip one place in FIFA rankings

Jane Thaba-Ntšo and Likuena are now 149th in the world, 45th in Africa...
Lesotho has slipped one place to 149th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings. Likuena are now 45th in Africa behind South Sudan (44th), Angola (43rd) and Comoros (42nd).

Likuena have only played one match in 2017, a 1-0 friendly loss away to Mozambique in March. The defeat is also Lesotho’s only game since Moses Maliehe took over as coach in December.

Lesotho will play its first competitive game under Maliehe on June 13, a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier away against Tanzania.

Likuena, of course, are in Group L of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers alongside Uganda, Cape Verde and Tanzania. After the June fixture against Tanzania there will be a long break until March 2018 for the next round of group games when Lesotho will host Cape Verde.

The national team’s next competitive fixture of 2017, therefore, will be in July in the form of a two-legged match against Comoros in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.  Comoros will host the first leg on July 4 before the return leg at Setsoto Stadium on July 21.

Should Likuena navigate their way past Comoros they would face either Namibia or Zimbabwe in the final CHAN qualifying round in August.

Returning to the world rankings and it was a quiet month on the international front which is reflected in FIFA’s latest ratings.

Egypt remains Africa’s top-ranked country after moving up one place to 35th on the global rankings table. The Pharaohs are followed by Senegal and African champions Cameroon.

Burkina Faso, Nigeria, DR Congo, Tunisia, Ghana‚ Ivory Coast and Morocco round out Africa’s top ten.

The biggest movers in FIFA’s latest rankings were Madagascar, who soared nine places to 111th in the world, while Malawi was the worst mover, dropping 14 places from 100th to 114th.

When it comes to the world’s top ten, there was also no movement with Brazil still first on the charts followed by Argentina‚ Germany‚ Chile and Colombia.

France‚ Belgium‚ European champions Portugal‚ Switzerland and Spain make up the rest of the world’s top ten teams.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bokamoso South crowned 2016/17 National Basketball League champions

Lesotho's new basketball champions... Bokamoso South
Bokamoso South have been crowned champions of the 2016/17 National Basketball League (NBL) season after a 83-76 overtime win over Lichocha Shooting Rifles in Game 4 of the NBL finals on Sunday.

Bokamoso’s dramatic win at a lively Lehakoe Club gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five finals series.

It is the first national title for the club since they were founded in 2012 and it was sealed in thrilling fashion as Sunday’s game went beyond the normal regulation time.

It was the sides’ fourth meeting in two weeks after Bokamoso won 83-77 and 76-64 in Games 1 and 2 last weekend before Lichocha won Game 3 68-60 on Friday, and the tension was clear from onset.

The teams traded leads throughout the tight game until Bokamoso finally sealed a memorable 83-76 victory after nearly two hours of action.

With the win, Bokamoso completed a remarkable treble and confirmed themselves as the new force of Lesotho basketball.

Bokamoso had already won the Sprite Memorial Independence Tournament last October and the Sprite Summer Slam Charity Tournament in December. Bokamoso, who also finished first in the regular season league phase to claim the top seed for the NBL playoffs, won 32 of their 35 games in all competitions this season.

They will represent Lesotho at the annual Swaziland Invitational Basketball Tournament in June.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

First half blitz gives Bantu the Vodacom Premier League title

Celebration time... Bantu are the 2016/17 champions of Lesotho
Bantu are the 2016/17 Vodacom Premier League champions after they used a first half blitz to thump Kick4Life 3-0 at the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The win was enough to secure A Matšo Matebele the title ahead of Lioli. The Mafeteng giants finished with 62 points to Tse Nala’s 60.

Bantu had gone into their season finale knowing they needed a win to seal the championship but unsure of the challenge they would face from Kick4Life. Kick4Life had already secured a top four place and had only won once in six games heading into today’s game. However, Leslie Notši’s charges had also inflicted one of the two defeats Bantu suffered this season.

Nonetheless, A Matšo Matebele, backed by massive travelling support in Maputsoe, were inspired.

James Madidilane’s side were aggressive from the first whistle and immediately overwhelmed Kick4Life. And, the yellow and black clad throng of Bantu fans didn’t have to wait long to celebrate a goal.

In the ninth minute in-form striker Lazola Tjokotjokwana put Bantu ahead with a fine header to send the crowd into rapture and ease nerves.

Bantu didn’t ease their relentless pressure, however. And, they were rewarded when another of the side’s stars this season, Litšepe Marabe, made it 2-0 in the 34th minute.

Six minutes later it was 3-0 as player of the season contender Hlompho Kalake scored his 11th league goal of the season, making him the league’s highest scoring midfielder this term.

With the score 3-0 at halftime, Bantu were able to consolidate and coast their way through the second half. The final whistle was met by scenes of wild celebration as A Matšo Matebele clinched the title in the year of their 90th birthday celebrations.

Bantu’s success against Kick4Life made Lioli’s 2-0 win over Sky Battalion at Setsoto Stadium purely academic. Tse Nala were forced to relinquish the league crown after holding it for two years.
Bantu fans turned out in their numbers...
There was also drama at the bottom of the league in the relegation battle involving Rovers and Likhopo.

Likhopo beat Liphakoe 2-0 in Quthing while Rovers drew 1-1 with Linare in Roma. The results meant the Red Army leapfrogged above Rovers into 12th place. Both sides finished with 17 points but Likhopo survived the axe thanks to a superior goal difference.

It was heartbreak for Rovers who were relegated from the Vodacom Premier League on the final day.

Elsewhere, LCS clinched third place thanks to their 2-0 win over Sundawana and Kick4Life’s loss to Bantu. It is the ninth time in ten years Masheshena have made the top four.

Lastly, the battle for the top eight was also settled. LMPS made hard work of it, but they eventually beat relegated Butha-Buthe Warriors 2-1 to clinch the final remaining place in the top eight.

Semonye return to the Vodacom Premier League’s top eight after finishing ninth last season.

The main story, however, was in Maputsoe where Bantu took the town over and painted it black and yellow. Now they are new kings of Lesotho. A Matšo Matebele have won the second championship in club history in the year of their 90th birthday festivities.

Vodacom Premier League Final Day Results:      
LMPS 2-1 Butha-Buthe Warriors
Bantu 3-0 Kick4Life
LCS 2-0 Sundawana
LDF 0-0 Matlama
Liphakoe 0-2 Likhopo
Lioli 2-0 Sky Battalion
Rovers 1-1 Linare

Final 2016/17 Vodacom Premier League Standings:


P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts.
C
Bantu
26
19
5
2
50
13
+37
62
2
Lioli
26
19
3
4
49
11
+38
60
3
LCS
26
15
8
5
38
21
+17
47
4
Kick4Life
26
13
6
7
42
28
+14
45
5
Sky Battalion
26
12
5
9
33
27
+6
41
6
LDF
26
10
9
7
28
21
+7
36
7
LMPS
26
8
12
6
23
20
+3
36
8
Matlama
26
9
11
6
37
25
+12
35
9
Sundawana
26
7
10
9
25
29
-4
31
10
Liphakoe
26
7
7
12
22
33
-11
28
11
Linare
26
6
9
11
35
38
-3
27
12
Likhopo
26
3
8
15
20
38
-18
17
R
Rovers
26
3
8
15
22
51
-29
17
R
Butha-Buthe Warriors
26
1
3
22
18
88
-70
6
·         Matlama docked 3 points
·         LDF docked 3 points and 3 goals