Relief for Matlama

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… as league matches are postponed

Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA coach, Mosito Matela, is a relieved man after Saturday’s Econet Premier League match against second-placed Lioli was postponed to 14 January 2018.

The Premier League Management Committee announced the postponement in a statement issued on Tuesday, saying they were left with no option but to cancel the two remaining fixtures of the season’s first round due to the unavailability of police personnel who provide security.

The other fixture was Sefotha-Fotha against Kick4Life at LCS ground.

“The Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) has been advised by the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) that due to their busy schedule during the weekend of the 23rd December 2017, all police officers will be engaged in other activities. As such, they will not be deployed in any Econet Premier League games,” reads the statement.

“This being the case, and due to the rule that the police should always be present in our games, we are forced to postpone all games fixtured for the 23rd December 2017.”

Matela told the Lesotho Times yesterday he was relieved by the postponement as it gave his regular players who were nursing injuries enough time to recover.

Five Matlama players were in the national under-20 side that participated in the just-ended COSAFA Cup in Zambia. The under-20 side lost 1-2 against South Africa.

“We tried to get in shape coming into this match but our biggest worry was the number of injuries in our team,” he said.

“John Mohai and Monaheng Ramalefane came back from under-20 national duty with injuries, Lisema Lebokollane, Mabuti Potloane and Kopano Motaung are also still nursing injuries, so this made things very tough for us.

“But now that the match has been postponed we are relieved and we will have enough time to prepare so that we go into that match in full force to fight for maximum points.

He said the break could also work against his charges as they would lack match fitness.

“We had two weeks without competitive football before this matches were postponed. Since the break has been extended, we are resuming training on 3 January because we need to keep in shape ahead of very tough matches against Lioli and LDF on two consecutive weekends,” Matela added.

Meanwhile, defeat will not be an option for Lioli in their visit to Matlama as they seek to keep pace with leaders Bantu for the League title race.

Bantu extended their lead over Lioli from two to five points by winning 2-1 when the two clubs faced off last Sunday at Ratjomose Ground.

Lioli is in second place in the 13-team league table with 24 points, and the club’s interim coach, Motebang Makhetha, stressed the importance of narrowing the gap with Bantu in an interview with the Lesotho Times.

He said the match, which will be their last fixture in the first round of the season, will be an opportunity for the Teyateyaneng-based outfit to bounce back from the Bantu defeat.

“We are now past the loss of last weekend, and we need to return to winning ways,” said Makhetha.

“We intend to collect maximum points against Matlama to make sure Bantu remains within our sights.”

The former Liphakoe mentor admitted it would not be easy to overcome a team of Matlama’s pedigree.

“It is not going to be easy. They are a big and solid team, so they won’t be pushovers. However, while we respect them, we need the three points.”

Makhetha indicated that his charges were experienced enough to move on from last weekend’s disappointment.

“The good thing is I have a squad of experienced players who understand that bad results don’t have to stand in the way of future success,” he said.

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