Matlama coach defiant

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MASERU — Although they suffered a disappointing defeat to rivals Lioli last Saturday, Matlama coach Ntebele Taole remains confident Tse Putsoa will finally wrap up the Vodacom Premier League title this weekend.

Matlama visit former champions LCS on Saturday desperate for a win after their march to the Holy Grail of local football was shackled by Lioli last Saturday.

The 2-0 loss to Lioli left Matlama coach Ntebele Taole to swallow humble pie after he had vowed to floor Tse Nala in the Battle of Lesotho.

In fact, Taole had sworn he would “leave coaching” if his charges were to lose to Lioli.

“That is just football talk,” Taole told the Lesotho Times this week. “I still refuse that Lioli can beat us. Luck was on their side.”

Taole said complacency could have played a part in Matlama loss.

“Because they beat Lioli so convincingly in the first round maybe they felt they could easily do it again,” he said.

“We talked mostly about how we would win and maybe it went to the players’ heads who might have thought they had already won before the game.

“But even though we lost, it is still hard to say that Lioli outplayed us. It was because of mistakes by our side.”

Taole however remained confident his charges would not capitulate in their last two games and give away the title they could have wrapped up a fortnight ago.

Matlama, with 62 points, still have the destiny of the title in their hands though, and two points from their final two matches will guarantee a record ninth championship for the Glamour Boys.

“I still have no fear. We are going to win,” Taole said.

“On Friday (tomorrow) I am going to release the team sheet.

“I have no fears about that line-up (which played against Lioli). The mistakes they made were of people who had no fear.”

Matlama’s match with LCS, moved forward from Sunday, is part of a Super Saturday which sees champions Lioli — fighting tooth and nail to keep their championship hopes alive — host Bantu at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.

Lioli have to win and hope Matlama lose if Tse Nala are to have any realistic chance of pipping Tse Putsoa to the title on the final day of the season next week.

But like Matlama, Lioli face a tough prospect against top-four chasing Bantu.

If Tse Nala lose to the Mafeteng side, Matlama will be crowned champions whatever result they get against LCS.

Tse Nala coach Mosholi Mokhothu said pressure was on Matlama as proved by their slip-ups in recent weeks, drawing 0-0 against lowly Mphatlalatsane and losing to Lioli.

“They are under pressure. They are undeniably under pressure to win the league from their fans and from their committee and that is making them play badly,” Mokhothu said.

Weekend league fixtures:

Saturday:

LCS vs Matlama (Central Prison), Lioli vs Bantu (Bambatha), Botha-Bothe Roses vs Likhopo (Butha-Buthe).

Sunday:

Joy vs Likhopo (Hlotse)

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