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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 4 Talking Points – Kick4Life look like the real deal

The weekend’s Vodacom Premier League actions offered plenty of action, goals and, of course, talking points.
Pointing the way to good times...
Kick4Life coach Leslie Notši
Kick4Life look like the real deal
At the start of the season Kick4Life were identified as a team to watch and a potential contender for the top four. It’s still early in the season but they are showing that the hype was justified. In fact, Kick4Life might be more than just a top four hopeful.

Under Leslie Notši, they forged an identity as a solid unit and now they have added a clinical edge.

Kick4Life only scored 24 goals in their 26 games last season with only Liphakoe, Rovers and the relegated duo of Likila United and Mphatlalatsane scoring less. So far this season they have scored 10 goals in four games.

It’s part of the overall turnaround by the club. Kick4Life have lost just four times in the 19 games since Notši took charge last November.

Their latest success came on Saturday when they defeated Bantu 1-0 in a hotly contested top of the table clash. The victory, sealed by a Thabiso Brown penalty, sent a message that Kick4Life are a top quality outfit this season.

Notši praised his team’s performance.

“It was a good win for us as we were playing a very good team. My players are improving gradually and it was good for their confidence going forward in terms of our growth as a smaller team,” Notši said.

The experience they added in the off-season is also aiding that growth. Kick4Life used the transfer window to add the likes of Bokang Mothoana and they are slowly gelling into a complete team. Of course, it’s still early to make bold predictions but Kick4Life look like the real deal and they appear set for a memorable campaign.

Linare get first win
Linare got off the mark on Sunday with their first win of the season. The 5-1 thumping of Rovers in Maputsoe will come as a big relief to Motlatsi Shale and his charges. Tse Tala had started the season poorly raising fears in Hlotse that its beloved team is set for another season of struggle.

Last season Linare only survived relegation on the second last weekend of the campaign and in 2014/15 they finished just four points above the drop zone.

Things again didn’t look promising as Linare began without a win in their opening three games.

Thankfully, a Rovers side fresh from graduations was the perfect tonic. Rovers were hapless and Linare took full advantage. The real test, however, is to maintain the same level of performance going forward. Consistency hasn’t been Linare’s strong suit in recent times. In their last 26 matches (dating back to September 2015) Tse Tala have won just six times.

Lioli win over Sky Battalion was a relief, but there are still
questions...
Questions for the big guns
Lesotho’s big guns, Lioli, Matlama and Bantu, all had contrasting weekends. Lioli got a much needed win by beating Sky Battalion 2-0 on Sunday at the LCS Stadium. The victory eased the scrutiny on coach Halemakale Mahlaha.

Lioli XI v Sky Battalion
1. Liteboho Mokhehle
2. Mafa Moremoholo
3. Jerry Kamela
4. Shetsane Ramoseeka
5. Kopano Tseka
6. Tšoanelo Koetle
7. Montoeli Sonopo
8. Bushy Moletsane
9. Maba Junior
10. Tumelo Khutlang
11. Tšepo Seturumane

But there are still questions for champions. Lioli are still unconvincing and they were not as comfortable as they should have been against a young, inexperienced, newly-promoted opponent.

But at least Lioli won which can’t be said for Matlama and Bantu. Matlama are still underwhelming after finishing second last season in entertaining fashion. Tse Putsoa are night and day in comparison.

Last season Matlama were fun, this season they are tentative and this is borne out by the fact they have only scored four times in four games after leading the charts last season with 46 goals. Their 1-1 draw with LDF on Sunday was another disappointing result for a team aiming to win the title.

But at least Matlama got a point, which can’t be said for Bantu. Not only did A Matšo Matebele fall to Kick4Life in their biggest test of the season so far, their fans disgraced the club by attacking match officials after the game.

What was a bright season all of a sudden turned ugly for Bantu. And, all of a sudden, Matlama versus Bantu this weekend is a make or break encounter.

Do LMPS have Lesotho’s best defence?
Yes.

LMPS have had a lot of talent in recent years but struggled to get it to mesh together. This season, however, there are no doubts in one area in particular: LMPS have assembled the best central defence in the country.

Nkau Lerotholi and Basia Makepe are Lesotho’s two best centre-backs and they are playing together every week. This is not good news for opposition strikers.

Unsurprisingly, strikers are finding it difficult to score. They are not happy. LMPS have not conceded a goal this season and they are only side yet to concede. If Semuye can keep the back-door shut on a regular basis that makes them a more dangerous proposition because this is a team that thrives on confidence.

The title of the best defence for the last two seasons has belonged to Lioli. It was a vital ingredient in their back-to-back titles. Makepe was a fundamental component of that Lioli defence. Now he is with LMPS.

Goals win games. Defence wins championships.

Trouble looms for Butha-Buthe Warriors and Rovers
It’s only four games in but it already looks like it will be a long season for Butha-Buthe Warriors. Warriors were the odds on favourites to go down and those expectations seem to be spot-on, so far.

The Butha-Buthe side were better against LMPS on Saturday after losing 5-0 to Kick4Life and 4-0 to Bantu in successive games, but they still came away from the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium empty-handed.

It’s a worry. Things can get out of control very quickly in a season. Warriors have to collect points so that they are not cut astray and simply just for their confidence.

At least Warriors’ excuse is that they are new to the Vodacom Premier League. It’s unclear what the excuse for Rovers’ poor start is. Whatever their reasons, conceding 10 goals in four games won’t cut it. Rovers need to shape up or another relegation dogfight is on the cards.

Vodacom Premier League Weekend Results
Saturday
Butha-Buthe Warriors 0-1 LMPS
Kick4Life 1-0 Bantu
Sundawana 0-0 LCS
Sunday
Matlama 1-1 LDF
Likhopo 1-1 Liphakoe
Sky Battalion 0-2 Lioli
Linare 5-1 Rovers

Leading Scorers:
Maba Junior (Lioli) - 4
Morapeli Lesoetsa (Kick4Life) - 3
Litšepe Marabe (Bantu) - 3
Leboneng Moqecho (LCS) - 3

Vodacom Premier League Standings


P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts.
1
Kick4Life
4
4
0
0
10
1
9
12
2
LMPS
4
3
1
0
3
0
3
10
3
Bantu
4
3
0
1
8
2
6
9
4
Liphakoe
4
2
2
0
4
2
2
8
5
LCS
4
2
1
1
5
3
2
7
6
Lioli
4
2
1
1
4
2
2
7
7
Matlama
4
1
3
0
4
3
1
6
8
Sky Battalion
4
2
0
2
3
5
-2
6
9
Linare
4
1
1
2
7
5
2
4
10
LDF
4
0
3
1
3
4
-1
3
11
Sundawana
4
0
2
2
2
4
-2
2
12
Likhopo
4
0
1
3
1
5
-4
1
13
Rovers
4
0
1
3
3
10
-7
1
14
Butha-Buthe Warriors
4
0
0
4
1
12
-11
0