By Mikia Kalati
MASERU — Premier league champions, Lioli, have vowed to continue with their fine start to the new league season as they prepare to take on Qoaling Highlanders at the Lesotho Correctional Service Ground on Saturday.
Lioli walloped Mpharane Celtic 6-0 in their opening match last Sunday.
Tse Nala mentor, Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu, who is in his second spell with the Teyateyaneng-based team, told the Lesotho Times that they go into their tie against Highlanders a motivated side.
“I think our impressive start to the new season goes down to long and proper preparations we had during pre-season,” Mokhothu said.
“What I have realised is that in the past, teams would always be very slow in their preparations, but everything went according to plan and we were able to find the rhythm even before the campaign started.”
Mokhothu who has lifted the league title with both Lioli and LCS said his team’s biggest test in the pre-season came against Bloemfontein Celtic where they lost 3-0.
“I think that was the wake-up call because a lot of my players were in the comfort zone, but the team talk we had after that game helped to prepare them mentally,” said Mokhothu.
He said the team worked as a unit last weekend where three of his new acquisitions were among the goal scorers.
“I’m very happy with our new additions and they have fitted well into our style though there is still a big room for improvement,” he said.
Highlander’s captain, Tšeliso Ramathe, told the Lesotho Times that the pressure is on league champions who started the campaign on a high note.
“All eyes will be on Lioli as the league champions after a great start to the new season,” Ramathe said.
“We held them to a draw in the second round last season and will once again go all out for positive results.”
The lanky defender said a goalless draw away to last season’s runners-up Bantu was also a motivation as one of the smaller teams that did not spend big monies in the off season.
“We have a team that can compete with any side at any time and we are growing mentally with each game,” Ramathe said.
The former Under-20 skipper said they want to do better than their first season in top-flight football where they were able to avoid relegation.
Elsewhere, league rookies Melele welcome the country’s most successful team Matlama in Qacha’s Nek on Saturday.
Tse Putsoa started the campaign with a 2-0 win over Mphatlalatsane and will be hoping to make it two wins in the opening two fixtures of the new season.
Linare host LCS in Hlotse in another match that is expected to produce fireworks.
Both teams won their first league matches of the new campaign last Saturday.
Premier league fixtures:
Qoaling Highlanders vs Lioli
Linare vs LCS
Melele vs Matlama
Mpharane vs Nyenye
Likhopo vs Bantu
Joy vs LDF
Mphatlalatsane vs LMPS