Matlama face Coton Sport FC


Rope in experienced coach Moses Maliehe, add new players


MASERU – The Lesotho football champions, Matlama FC, face Coton Sport FC of Cameroon in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League preliminary round. The CAF Champions League draw was held in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday this week.

Matlama will host the first leg tie set to take place between September 9 and 11 this year. However, Matlama will have to host the tie out of the country since Setsoto Stadium was suspended by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). Matlama spokesperson, Tankiso Moletsane, confirmed that Tse Putsoa will have to host Coton Sport in one of the South African stadiums as a result of the suspension of the Setsoto Stadium.

“The CAF Champions League draw was held yesterday and we were drawn against Coton Sport of Cameroon,” said Moletsane in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday. “To be honest, we were not expecting to be drawn against a team that is outside our region but there is nothing we can do. We cannot change the draw.” Moletsane further said: “But we happy that we are going to host the first leg, even though we will have to host it in South Africa since we don’t have stadium.”

Coton Sport FC are Cameroon’s 16 times champions. They reached the final of the CAF Champions League in 2018 where they lost 4-2 to Al- Ahly of Egypt on goal-aggregate, following a 2-0 loss away to Al-Ahly in the first leg and 2-2 draw home in the return leg. Matlama, on the other hand, are Lesotho’s 11 times champions. However, Tse Putsoa had never went beyond the preliminary stage of the CAF Champions League.

But Moletsane said Matlama were ready for Coton Sport FC. He said the Lesotho Champions had a number of international players who could match any team in the continent. “We have a number of international players who most of them are from this year’s COSAFA Cup and of course they are not intimidated.” Matlama have started preparing for the upcoming domestic football season four weeks ago and will only begin to play competitive matches two weeks to come during the Alliance Winter Challenge.

Moletsane said Matlama would also need about three international friendly matches ahead of their CAF Champions League first leg tie against Coton Sport FC. “We are facing Linare in the Alliance Winter Challenge on August 27 and then we will see who are going to be our second opponents (between Lioli and LCS FC either in the final or the third-place decider) the following day.

Those matches will be a good practice for us here at home but we will still need to play about two to three friendly matches ahead of the CAF Champions League first leg game against Coton Sport FC.” The Lesotho champions have boosted their technical team before the CAF Champions League draw with the inclusion of former Likuena coach, Moses Maliehe to work with Molebatsi Mothobi after CAF has announced new mandatory coaching license requirements for coaches who will be leading clubs in the 2021/22 CAF Interclub competitions.

According to the continent’s football mother body, for CAF Champions League, CAF “A” or valid sister confederation “PRO” coaching license is mandatory for the head coach and CAF B coaching license mandatory for the assistant coach. “Moses Maliehe has CAF A license while Mothobi has B license,” said Moletsane. “The two coaches are assisted by Mokoena Mohale and Sello Seholoholo, and also Matsoai Shokhoe as the goalkeepers’ coach.”

Matlama have also signed Khauhelo Motanyane (goalkeeper) from Lifofane, Batlang Moreki (midfielder) from Liphakoe and Thabiso Mari (striker) from FC Likhopo. This was after Matlama have loaned one of their midfielders Teboho Pita to Lijabatho FC and parted ways with their former defender, Khotso Molulela, while the team former goalkeeper, Matebele Mareka, has hung up his boots.


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