Sky Battalion Football Club have won promotion into the Vodacom Premier League with two matches to spare before their campaign comes to a close.
The Maseru-based team, also known as Super Kingdom (SK), came from a goal down to beat Majantja 2-1 last Saturday, to take their points tally to 37 from 16 matches. Second-placed Van Rooyen are six points behind after 17 matches and only have one match to play to complete their A Division Southern Stream fixtures.
Sky Battalion, owned by a Chinese who sometimes also features for the team and has been dubbed ‘Messi’ by fans, will face Melele on 2 April before wrapping up their A Division journey with an away match against Manonyane in Roma on 16 April, but the team is already celebrating their remarkable run in the league.
In the Northern Stream, Sefotha-fotha and Nyenye Rovers are going neck-to-neck for the title. Sefotha-fotha are on 30 points from 16 matches, while Nyenye have 29 points from 17 matches.
Sky Battalion general manager, Mahlake Phulane, told the Lesotho Times that the promotion came as a surprise as this was their first season in the A Division. Super Kingdom purchased Sky Battalion’s A Division franchise at the start of this season.
“The promotion was just great news for everyone in the team. The boys were all in tears when we gave them the message that our challengers for the title, Van Rooyen, had lost against Mangau on Sunday, which gave us an unassailable lead,” he said.
“When we purchased the Sky Battalion franchise at the start of the season, the plan was to maintain our A Division status and then fight for promotion next season. So this promotion came as a real surprise to us but we are happy that it happened sooner than we expected.”
The team’s secret to success, Phulane said, was hard work.
“Everyone knew their role in the team; we all also knew the importance of hard work and this is the reward we got for the commitment we showed throughout the campaign,” he said.
Phulane further said the management was already planning for life the big time.
“We understand that it is not going to be easy in the topflight, so we had already started planning and looking at what needs to be done to reinforce the squad. But obviously we are going to need experienced players because we have youngsters who are still nervous to face the top guns in premier league,” said Phulane.
He also said the team would need sponsors because of the expenses involved in the premier league.
“The issue of sponsorship is very worrying but we are still looking and just hope they will come on board before the season begins.”