MASERU – It’s good to be a Matlama fan once more. A new year has a brought a new dawn. Three wins in four games.
Much of the transformation has been down to Ntebele Taole. Appointed at the beginning of the year when Matlama down in the dumps and sliding Taole has lifted the side up to fifth on the log.
Before Taole’s appointment Matlama had only won three games one of which was a default 3-0 win over Lerotholi.
This year has been much different story though. They are playing an exciting brand of football.
This is the third stint that the 56-year-old is having with Matlama. He was their coach from 1984 to 1992, first as a youth coach before taking the reigns of the first team.
He left in 1993 but returned in 2000 to spend two seasons at the club. He coaxed out of retirement at the beginning of the year.
“I have built three teams here and I want build one more, one that will take Matlama back to its rightful place,” he said.
“I like young players because the grow play together for a long time. And I have a very talented group of players here.”
The transformation of the young team has been marked.
“I’ve been at the club for a month and I’ve seen improvements, three months from now and you see something different.”
When I arrived there were a lot of problems passing shooting the basics, Taole said.
“The most important thing that has changed is that the players realise what a big club Matlama is. This is no ordinary team.”
But even with the good form of his side the old task master is not getting carried away.
“My aim is finish in the top four, winning the league is a bit too much to ask considering the stat we have had to this season. We need to keep improving and next season will be a real force,” he said.
He is confident that the improvement will continues this weekend when Matlama face the side that has taken the mantle from Matlama as the premier side in the country defending champions LCS.
Added spice is that Taole also has connections with LCS having coached them from 1993 to 1998.
“LCS were nothing before I went to them. Now look where they are now.”
But Taole and the whole of Matlama should not expect LCS to roll over and with Matlama being the only side to have beaten Masheshena revenge is on the agenda, a fact that LCS PRO Martin ‘Molaoa pointed out to the Lesotho Times.
“We have to win that game we need that three points, it’s a huge game.”
“There is no way we are going to lose to Matlama, absolutely no way.”
“We want three points we are not prepared for anything less”
“Matlama is a huge team they have a massive fan base I’m sure if they had played and beaten Lioli this would an even greater affair Lioli.”
“My biggest wish for the game is that we have a fair referee like the one we had when we played Lioli. Even if he gave West (Ralekoti Mokhahlane) a red card he was fair,” ‘Molaoa said.
In this clash of Lesotho footballing aristocracy will we see a confirmation of the change of guard?
The last word goes to Taole.
“What I would say to LCS and the rest of those teams for that matter is watch out. Watch out Matlama are back.”