MASERU – Matlama will on Sunday face their biggest test on the African continent when they take on Supersport United in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League.
The big match is at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times ahead of the tie, Matlama coach Mahao Matete says Tse Putsoa will approach the game like any other.
Matlama will be the first Lesotho club side to take part in the continental showpiece since LCS in 2008.
This is probably why Matete speaking yesterday said he didn’t want to put any pressure on the players and would approach it in the same way as any other match.
“We will play the same way as we have been playing our matches,” Matete told the Lesotho Times yesterday when asked about his side’s plans for Supersport.
“I don’t want to put any pressure on the boys by saying we want to do this or that. I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure because for most of the players it will be the first time they play an international club game,” Matete said.
Matlama nonetheless might be facing Supersport at a good time. The Pretoria side has struggled this season and are lying in 10th place on the 16-team South African Premier Soccer League log.
However, Matete said that this didn’t count for much insisting his side were in similar straits.
“We are in the same situation. We can’t say that we will capitalise on their form,” Matete said.
Nonetheless Matlama have prepared well and have had sessions at the Lehakoe Club.
Matete said he had a full squad to choose from with only slight concerns over the fitness of midfielder Lebakeng Lebetsa and talisman Litšepe Marabe.
“Moscow (Lebetsa) has a slight injury (and) Litšepe has an ankle problem that has been on and off, will see how they are,” Matete said.
Tse Putsoa’s form has improved in recent weeks and they are undefeated with three wins in five matches in the league since the arrival of Matete as coach in November.
The form has been based on a defence that has only conceded one goal in their last five matches.
Despite the positives Matete said he wanted his team to do the talking on the field.
“Football is played on the field,” Matete said. “We are playing against a team that is professional and where the players are paid, so from the start they have an advantage over us,” Matete said.
Matlama played a friendly match against another South African Premiership side Free State Stars in Bethlehem yesterday afternoon. Matlama were scheduled to travel to Polokwane yesterday.
The return leg will be played at the Setsoto Stadium on February 13.
Meanwhile, in the Vodacom Premier League fourth-placed Bantu are due to host second-placed Linare in Mafeteng on Saturday.
A Matšo Matebele, who have 18 points, will look to bounce back from successive defeats with a win over high flying Linare.
Tse Tala, who have22 points, can reclaim top spot with a win because league leaders LDF are not in action this weekend.