By Mikia Kalati
MASERU — Premier league clubs continue making their final preparations ahead of what promises to be an explosive season.
This week the Lesotho Times takes a look at the pre-season preparations for Lesotho’s premier league big guns ahead of the campaign on August 25.
Bantu FC: Coach Ndebele Taole’s charges have developed into a competitive side over the last two seasons, as testified by their last season’s performance when they won the Independence Top 4 tournament and also managed to finish sixth in the Vodacom Premier League.
A Matšo Matebele, as Bantu are affectionately known, look set to add Litšepe Marabe to their already star-studded squad. The former Matlama fans’ favourite announced his arrival with a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over LDF in a friendly match.
Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS): After a superb 2011/12 season in which they successfully defended their league title, Masheshena will once again begin the season as the team to beat.
Add the experience of season campaigners like Likuena captain Moitheri Ntobo, Khoto Sesing and playmaker Thulo Ranchobe to the creativity and flair of players such as Ralekoti Mokhahlane and Lehloka Lieta, Masheshena is every opposition team’s worst nightmare on any given day.
General Secretary, Lehlohonolo Matlosa, told this paper that the champions will soon announce their new acquisition for the new season.
Coach Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu needs to reinforce his side ahead of the busy football year that will also see them taking part in the continental CAF Champions League.
Lioli: Although Tse Nala finished outside the top four last season, they will also be among the favourites for the league title when the new season gets underway in the next two weeks.
The arrival of former LCS league winning coach, Katiso Mojakhomo, in the later stages of last season seemed to be working wonders for the Teyateyaneng based outfit.
Tse Nala fought back from fighting relegation and went on to secure a fifth position finish. They ended the season on a high note after upsetting rivals Matlama in the last matches of the season.
A defiant Mojakhomo told the Lesotho Times that his team will be better than in the past season.
He will call on the likes of star winger Montoeli Sonopo, experienced defenders Thabo Masualle and Sheli Ramoseeka to lead from the back, while midfield maestro Bushy Moletsane is the one man Mojakhomo will hope can help turn the tables after rejoining from Botswana Flamingo Santos.
Likhopo: The 2005/06 league champions have issued a comeback plan after narrowly surviving relegation last season.
The Bishop Molatoli side have roped in former player and coach, Motlatsi Shale, as the new coach ahead of the new season.
His biggest task will be turning the youthful Likhopo side into a league winning team.
The task will be made difficult by the fact that a lot will be expected from Likhopo after securing a two-year M1 million sponsorship deal from Matekane Group of Companies (MGC).
He will look to the returning Likuena duo of Thapelo Tale and Katleho Moleko, to make an immediate impact.
Former youth internationals Mojalefa Tšoeu, Makara Ntaitsana and Kananelo Makhooane will also have to up their game and prove their once promising talent.
Matlama: The country’s most successful side are a team that often fails to deliver when much is expected of them despite having a squad full of talented players.
The likes of Thapelo Mokhehle, Nkau Lerotholi, Pali Tšalong and Dlomo Monaphathi are among the best players in the country and should help Tse Putsoa challenge for honours.
They were all part of Matlama’s 2010 team that won the league and Vodacom Spectacular double and, along with youngsters like Phafa Tšosane, should be key men for coach Mokoena Mohale in the new season.