LCS host Lioli in the pick of the weekend’s Premier League matches
Premier League titans, Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) and Lioli, clash on Saturday at LCS Ground in one of domestic football’s biggest and most anticipated fixtures.
The potentially explosive tie would pit two of the country’s most successful coaches— Lioli’s Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu and Katiso Mojakhomo of LCS—against each other, while both sides also boast of arguably the best players Lesotho currently has to offer.
Mokhothu was Mojakhomo’s assistant when LCS won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2006/07 and 2007/08, and when he moved to Lioli the following season, coached Tse Nala to their first league title in 24 years. Mokhothu then returned to LCS in 2010, and subsequently led Masheshena to two consecutive league titles.
However, Mokhothu, who moved to Lioli last season, told the Lesotho Times that it would not be about history when the two teams enter the pitch on Saturday.
“We know each other quite well from our days together at LCS and I know Ntate Mojakhomo is a good planner when it comes to matches of this magnitude, but we need the three points on Saturday,” Mokhothu said.
“My only worry is that our league schedule has been affected by the national team’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) programme and we are behind in terms of matches compared to other teams (Lioli have only played one match since the 2014/15 season began on 23 August, compared to the other teams’ three fixtures).”
However, Mokhothu said he was not “that concerned” that nine of his players who are part of the national squad, Likuena, might be tired when they come back to the team after playing two international matches in four days.
“As much as it is affecting our programme, it is also good for us because our players are playing at the highest level and they are getting sharper and more experienced,” said Mokhothu.
“I trust them and know that they will come back from the national team even hungrier for success, and eager to help us get an important win over LCS, who are topping the log at the moment.
“This match is a must-win for us because LCS have been doing very well of late. However, I still think we have a better team and my boys will emerge victorious on Saturday.”
On his part, LCS coach, Mojakhomo, said there was still room for improvement for his side despite being on top of the 14-team Premier League table after the three opening matches of the 2014/15 campaign.
“We are taking it one match at a time and our approach against Lioli on Saturday will be very different to that of the previous fixtures,” Mojakhomo said.
“You are never satisfied as a coach, and you want to see your team improving with every match and the three points on offer on Saturday will be what we need most.
“My history as a former Lioli coach will not make any difference. It is about planning for the match and trying to get the better of your opponents.”
Mojakhomo, unlike his Lioli counterpart, only has two players in the Likuena side, Ralekoti Mokhahlane and Moitheri Ntobo. Ntobo has however, been struggling with an injury, and missed Likuena’s 0-2 loss to Burkina Faso last Saturday.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Saturday, struggling Linare host high-flying LDF in Hlotse.
The army-side have registered two back-to-back victories so far and drawn the other match, while Linare have suffered two consecutive losses since their 1-0 win over Qoaling Highlanders in the opening fixture of the 2014/15 season.
Defending league champions, Bantu, will also be in action when they host tricky Sundawana FC in Mafeteng
The Mafeteng-based side, alongside with Lioli, LCS and LDF, are the only sides yet to lose since the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League campaign got underway on 23 August.
Full weekend fixtures
Saturday: Linare v LDF, LCS v Lioli, Bantu v Sundawana FC, Mphatlalatsane v Nyenye Rovers.
Sunday: FC Likhopo v Matlama, Kick4Life v Qoaling Highlanders, Likila United v LMPS.