Lioli midfielder Jerry Kamele says victory over title-rivals Likhopo this weekend would be cherry on top of a fantastic first round of the 2015/16 Vodacom Premier League season.
Tse Nala lead the table with 27 points, while Likhopo are fourth on 24 points going into Saturday’s match and both sides have played 12 matches of the season.
The weekend clash is the last of the first round of the campaign and Kamele has made a declaration that certainly raises the stakes in what was already predicted to be a thriller.
The utility player scored one of Lioli’s goals in the 2-1 win over Liphakoe last Saturday, and believes the good times are back at Tse Nala following a brief poor run of form.
“We are all happy to have returned to winning ways and I must say morale is high among the players once again,” Kamela said.
“Competition is very high in the league this year and we cannot afford to slip-up again. That’s why we must beat Likhopo at any cost to end the year top of the table.
“We showed character against Liphakoe to overcome a poor run of results and I believe the turning point was the 2-0 win over Rovers a fortnight ago.
“But we need to work harder because Matlama are breathing down our necks in second position on the log, so defeat is not an option against Likhopo.
“Our goal has always been to finish the first round as the best team in the league and that can only be achieved if we beat Likhopo on Saturday. I know it’s going to be a very difficult task because they are a quality side, but we still have to come out tops and we will do it.”
On his part, Likhopo striker Lehlomela Ramabele said he expected an explosive match against the log-leaders and defending league champions come Saturday.
“Matches between Lioli and Likhopo always produce fireworks and I expect the same on Saturday particularly because it is the last game of the first round of the season for both teams,” Ramabele said.
“It is always a motivation for any team to play Lioli because they are a big side. But for us, it will be all about returning to winning ways after two back-to-back draws against Kick4Life and LCS.
“Victory over Lioli will be a big Christmas bonus for us because like I said, every team wants to beat the best to also be the best.”
Ramabele also said he would like to get on the score-sheet to take his tally past his current eight goals. He is joint top-scorer alongside Raboana Koloti of Sundawana.
In another potential thriller set for Saturday, Bantu will be hoping to end their three-match losing streak when they visit LCS at LCS Ground.
A Matšo Matebele are winless since Motlatsi Shale was reappointed head-coach last month and another loss could hurt their chances of winning the league title this season.
The Mafeteng-based side are 10 points behind Lioli and face an LCS side also struggling for form.
Despite being two places and three points ahead of seventh-placed Bantu, LCS have had four consecutive draws and would undoubtedly be out to end their indifferent run.
The last match set for Saturday will see second-placed Matlama host bottom-of-the-table Mphatlatsane at Pitso Ground.
Tse Putsoa clinched a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Bantu last Saturday and victory over Mphatlalatsane is going to improve their chances of winning the league title.
On Sunday, Rovers and LDF lock horns at LCS Ground to wind-up the first round of the season.
The premier league management has since confirmed that the second round of the season begins on 16 January.