MASERU –— Matlama coach Ntebele Taole (pictured) has put his head on the block saying he will “leave coaching” if his charges lose their title-decider against defending champions Lioli on Saturday.
The potentially explosive match is set for the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.
Matlama will be crowned the Vodacom Premier League champions should they get the better of their bitter rivals.
A draw will be enough to put the title beyond Lioli, who trail Matlama by eight points with three matches to go.
Taole, 57, has vowed Tse Putsoa will floor the Teyateyaneng giants on Saturday and clinch a record ninth title for the Maseru glamour boys.
“I will leave coaching if I’m beaten by Lioli,” Taole told the Lesotho Times this week.
“This match, whether it is hot or it is cold, I’m telling you we are going to win.”
The reverse fixture between the two sides was abandoned 13 minutes from time with Matlama leading 3-0 after fan violence broke out.
The match was however awarded to Matlama who since then have not looked back in their march towards the championship.
Tse Putsoa could have wrapped up the title a fortnight ago had they done better than a goal-less draw against Mphatlalatsane.
Taole, affectionately known as Mocholene, said his charges will not be complacent again.
“What happened with Mphatlalatsane won’t happen again,” he said.
“In fact, Lioli shouldn’t score first because they will see something they have never seen before.”
Taole vowed Tse Putsoa would have still won even if the match were to be played in Teyateyaneng.
The match was moved to Maseru after the Premier League banned Lioli from playing at their home ground in Teyateyaneng because of security concerns.
“Even if we were going to TY we would still beat them,” Taole said.
“The people of Lioli should know that Ntate Taole is here and he is here to be at the top of the log.”
Taole would not be drawn into discussing his tactics for the crunch match.
He said he had not even bothered to study Lioli’s play.
His only concern was the fitness of Dlomo Monapathi and Marcus Tefa who have both been suffering from flu.
Taole, however, expects both players to be fit for action.
When Matlama last met Lioli, Monapathi gave Tse Nala’s central defenders a torrid time.
“There is nothing that I can say we are going to change (tactically) for the game,” Taole said.
“They probably will mark him (Monapathi) with three players, but then they will see Mohau (Khali) and Litšepe (Marabe).”
Taole said he was pleased with Matlama’s revival this season after years of playing bridesmaid to LDF, Likhopo and LCS.
Last season Matlama could only finish fifth.
“The happiness I have now is one that I can’t explain,” Taole said.
“It’s like of someone who has been praying for a (baby) boy and after receiving four girls they finally get him.
“This season we have been the best team and I invite the public to come see it on Saturday.”
Lifting the Vodacom Premier League title will complete a double for Matlama who last November won Lesotho’s biggest cup competition, the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular.