A-Division teams battle for Top 8 spot

NEO SENOKO

MASERU - The A-Division Top 8 tournament comes to an end this weekend with the best four teams battling it out for the top honours after winning their quarter final stages. The Leribe-based outfit, Galaxy have gained automatic promotion to the premier league and take on Manonyane in the first semifinal tomorrow at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.

Lifofane will fight for the final spot against Swallows, another side that has gained promotion to the elite league. This comes after all the four teams triumphed in the quarter final phase with Galaxy thumping Lithabaneng Golden 5-4 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Roma based side Manonyane progressed to the semis following a 3-0 drubbing of Litšilo. In another game Lifofane beat the A-Division rookies Lijabatho 2-0 to advance to the semifinals while Swallows registered an emphatic 3-1 victory over Ketane. De fending champions Swallows are keen to keep the momentum going this year and are prepared to go all out to retain the title.

Swallows head coach Lebohang Matobo is confident that his charges are more than ready to defend their title. “We know that all the teams are targeting us because we won the tournament last season and also because we had a very good season. So our approach to this games is simply to do everything possible to defend the trophy,” Matobo said in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday.

Swallows take on Lifofane in the second semifinal tomorrow and the coach is not intimidated by the opponents despite the latter team’s outstanding performance against Lijabatho before they advanced to the semis. “We saw how they play and won against Lijabatho but I think we have a strong team that can go all the way to the finals,” Matobo said.

In spite of missing on a chance to be promoted to the elite league, the Roma-based outfit Manonyane have been dubbed favorites to clinch the title this year owing to the quality in their team. The team that is mentored by former Lioli assistant coach Thabile Secker finished fourth in the southern stream with 30 points. “We have played against Galaxy before and apart from that, we saw their game last week and noticed their weaknesses and I hope we will capitalise on such aspects to win the game and advance to the finals,” Secker also said.

Besides Manonyane, the northern stream winners Galaxy have been dubbed as the second favourites to win the trophy based on their consistent form throughout the season. The team won the league with 39 points, losing only thrice in 18 league games. Head coach Thabang Staff Busa said his team might not be considered the best by most people but he showed his were willing to go all the way to the finals.

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