Lioli fight for Top-4 finish

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – It is a do or die tussle for Lioli this Sunday when they host LCS FC at their Teyateyaneng home ground – the hosts will be looking to secure a Top-4 position at the end of the current season. LCS go to the Lioli match lying on fourth position on the 16-team Vodacom Premier League log table, while Lioli are on fifth position, both after having collected 37 points apiece; Lioli from 21 matches and LCS from 20 matches. But ‘Masheshena’, as LCS are popularly known, have a superior goal-difference, hence they are in front of Lioli on the log standings.

LCS have scored 34 goals and conceded 13 compared to Lioli with 27 goals and 15 conceded goals. Therefore, LCS have a positive goal-difference of 21, while Lioli have 12.   But a victory over Kick4Life last weekend gave Lioli’s coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, hope that his side is going to improve its position on the log standings. But sadly for him LCS also registered a victory over Swallows on the same day. Lioli needed a 7-0 win over Kick4Life in order to have a superior goal-difference over LCS, a game Mokhothu said was not an easy one for his charges.

“This game was very tough because this team is playing with the youngsters but who are very experienced when it comes to football,” said Mokhothu at the post-match interview with Public Eye last Saturday. Mokhothu said they had to take a sweet revenge after Kick4Life beat them home in the first round. “They are a bunch of mentally fit players but because they beat us in the first round we had to beat them this time in order to collect maximum points.”

Mokhothu said the maximum points they collected from the Kick4Life game kept them in the race for a Top-4 finish which is their main target for this season. “The importance of our today’s three points is that they keep us in the race because our aim is to finish among the top 4 teams in the league. “So we don’t want LCS to open a big gap between us because our aim is finish among the top 4 teams come the end of the season.”

Mokhothu further said: “In fact, we want to keep pace with all the teams in front of us. This is the pressure we have and so we must win all the time.” The upcoming match between Lioli and LCS is, therefore, expected to be an explosive encounter. This is going to be a true moment for Lioli to do it or die in front of their home supporters. “We are taking on LCS as our next league game and this is where it is going to be clear which team is going to be in the Top-4,” Mokhothu said. However, Lioli have a challenge of not having all their players at the same time to prepare for big games like this since some them have work commitments after they had to find jobs outside football because of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw all top-flight club struggling to pay the players.

“Because of the Covid-19 pandemic some of our players are now having work commitments and that makes it difficult for us when it comes to preparation.” Mokhothu further said: “So you can no longer plan around some of them like before because their different scope of work outside football force them to miss some of our training sessions.” But for the LCS match, Mokhothu said things might be different. “It might be that we will be having our full squad for the LCS game, as I am told so.”

Mokhothu has coached LCS before and won a number of league titles and domestic cups, but this was ages ago and LCS have since recruited a new generation of players that Mokhothu cannot predict what to expect from current LCS team. “Yes, I coached LCS before but I do not know their current style of play, the reason they pose a threat to me. But we will be playing at home and we are out to win.”

Meanwhile, Kick4Life interim coach, Teboho Kokome, said his team’s loss to Lioli was not too bad. He said even though there were some of things which did not materialize during that game, but he is quite satisfied with the way his boys played. “But I am fairly satisfied, especially with the chances that we have created, even though we did not convert them,” said Kokome at the post-match interview last Saturday. The Lioli defeat saw Kick4Life moving out of the top 8 bracket. The New Europa side are now lying on position 9 after they move one step down.

Kick4Life are facing Lifofane away from home this Saturday. Lifofane were hammered 4-0 by the LMPS FC last Saturday. Kokome said the Lifofane tie would be a different game altogether. He said they would have to introduce a number of strikers in order to avoid what happened against Lioli. “So obviously, going forward we will have to introduce a number of strikers so as to avoid lack of goals we had experienced against Lioli.”

Kokome further said his players should not underestimate the Lifofane team simply because they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of LMPS.

Weekend fixtures at a glance

 Saturday

Linare vs Liphakoe (Maputsoe DiFA Stadium)

Sefotha-fotha vs CCX FC (LDF Ground)

Manonyane vs Swallows (Nyakosoba Ground)

Lifofane vs Kick4Life (Botha-Bothe)

 

Sunday

Lioli vs LCS (TY Ground)

FC Likhopo vs Matlama (LCS Ground)

Lijabatho vs Bantu (Morija Ground)

LMPS vs LDF (LDF Ground)

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