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LDF boss rues slow start



MASERU – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) head coach Motheo Mohapi lamented his team’s slow start against Linare which saw them have to come back from 2-0 down to share the spoils in an entertaining Vodacom Premier League opener last Saturday at Ratjomose.

LDF finished second in the league last season, their highest finish since 2012, and ‘Sohle-Sohle’ have high expectations for this season as they chase a first league title since 2004.

With their opening game at home against a Linare side they had beaten in seven of the teams’ previous 12 meetings, LDF were surely hoping to get their 2022/23 campaign off to a winning start to set the tone for a possible title challenge.

However, through a combination of starting slow and sloppiness, LDF failed to claim all three points much to the dismay of Mohapi who said a draw was not a fair reflection of the game.

An upset Mohapi said his side should have won and had it been LDF leading 2-0 before halftime, Linare would not have been able to come back.

Perhaps it was an early season overconfidence or rustiness, but LDF started slowly and Linare shocked the home side with a goal in the fourth minute through Siyabonga Mkhize before Jerry Kamela doubled the score in the 36th minute.

At that point it was difficult to imagine LDF could even get a point.

The hosts were beaten for pace and failed to create any chances. Their star players, including Lesotho international Tšepo Toloane, had a quiet game. When LDF had the ball, they found it difficult to penetrate Linare’s defence which stood tall for large periods of the match.

Mohapi ripped into his side saying they will have to improve if they are to challenge for league honours.

“They were too relaxed; our team doesn’t play a slow game but they started playing like we had won and I realised things would not happen the way we want. We will try to find out what was happening because it was the whole team, I am not happy with that,” he said.

LDF improved after the break and Toloane brought them back into the game with a free-kick before a lapse in concentration and a failure to clear their lines dearly cost Linare in the last minutes of the game.

“Football is football, things that you don’t expect can happen,” Mohapi said.

“Our team did not play well at all but to get a point is not the same as losing, but if that was us leading 2-0, they would have never been able to come back,” Mohapi said.

The LDF mentor, who was a player the last time the club won the league, said he was happy with the performance of the new recruits in his team, however. That was the one positive he took from the game.

Mohapi said the debutants were under pressure because it was their first competitive appearance and he backed them to improve.

“Even though this is not the first game they are playing at LDF, this one was their first official game and I believe it gave them a certain pressure because it’s their first game. I am happy with their performance,” Mohapi said.

LDF will have to quickly put aside the disappointment of dropping two valuable points because they face Lioli, a possible title rival, on Sunday. ‘Tse Nala’ got their season off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Swallows.

Tlalane Phahla


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