…as Lioli face Kick4Life test in opener
THE 2018/19 Econet Premier League season kicks off with thriller fixtures on Saturday with Bob Mafoso beginning his new journey as Kick4Life coach against his mentor Lehlohonolo Thotanyana who is now in charge of Lioli.
The clash scheduled for Teyateyaneng is one of the three matches scheduled for the opening day of the new season.
The other matches will see defending champions Bantu begin their title defence against Sefothafotha at Ratjomose Barracks while LDF also dates Majantja at the same venue.
The new Kick4Life coach admitted that he has a mountain to climb facing Thotanyana in his first match in charge of the club.
“Gauging our preparedness on the matches that we played in the pre-season and our training routines, I think we are ready for the new season,” Mafoso said.
“It is mammoth task playing Lioli in the first match. However, the advantage is that being the first match of the season, all the teams still do not have any points.
“It will not be an easy game since Lioli are a big team which is expected to fight for honours every season but we are ready to start the season.”
Mafoso said his side will be without the services of midfielder, Bokang ‘Lefty’ Mothoana, who is still recovering from an injury he suffered last season and new signing Teboho Lekhooa is also injured.
“Mothoana trained with the national team prior to the game against Cape Verde but he has not fully recovered. Lekhooa is also not yet ready for this match but both are back at training where they are still focussing on their fitness after injuries.
“Both will be ready to start their training with the rest of the squad by next week. The rest of the squad is ready for the opening match.”
Thotanyana downplayed the friendship that the two coaches enjoy and said it will all be all about the three points on Saturday.
“For me it will be just a normal game. As much as we have that working relationship with him, it will be about competition on the field of play and the three points.
“The best squad on the day will walk away with the three points. However, as far as my side is concerned, there is never a time that as a coach you will say the team is ready.
“We can only gauge our readiness when we play in competitive matches because you can never really say the team is ready after playing friendly matches.
“We have completed our preparations and looking forward to the start of the new season,” Thotanyana said.
Bantu coach James Madidilane, who will be gunning for his third league title in a row this season, declared that his side is ready for the new campaign.
He said the Mafeteng outfit has done its best to reinforce the squad including replacing his former assistant coach Mafoso.
“We were hard at work in our preparations for the new season though we have an injury setback but we are ready to get the new season underway.
“Any team that has won a trophy will want to defend it though we know it is not going to be easy. Last season was tough and I expect the new season to be tougher. However, our intention is still to defend our title and we will do all we can,” Madidilane said.
The country’s most decorated side, Matlama is among clubs that will get their new campaign underway on Sunday when they renew their rivalry with Linare in Maputsoe.
Tse Putsoa are now coached by Thabile Secker, who replaced Mosito Matela while Teele Ntšonyane will be looking at continuity at Tse Tala.
Econet Premier League fixture
Saturday September 15
Bantu v Sefothafotha
LDF v Majantja
Lioli v Kick4Life
LMPS v Galaxy
LCS v Swallows
Liphakoe v FC Likhopo
Linare v Matlama