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Liphakoe hopes to spring surprise



Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Liphakoe general manager Moeketsi Ramakatsa says the Quthing club are looking to challenge for the Vodacom Premier League title this season.

Liphakoe go into the 2016/17 campaign with plenty of question marks.

Last season the Quthing club only survived relegation on the penultimate weekend and are, unsurprisingly, amongst the favourites for the drop again this term.

However, Moeketsi Ramakatsa outlined bold ambitions for the side’s second campaign in the top-flight.

“What can I say is every season we aim to win the league like everyone (else); nothing else,” he told thepost last Wednesday.

“That’s the main target and if we fail to do that then (we want to) finish in a good position.”

It will have to be a turnaround of epic proportions if the Teele Ntšonyana coached side is to reach Ramakatsa’s target.

Last term the Quthing club finished 11th in the league in their debut premiership season. They suffered 11 defeats in their 26 games and only scored 19 goals.

Worryingly, Ramakatsa admitted Liphakoe’s pre-season preparations have not gone exactly to plan. Ramakatsa said the team’s programme was disrupted by a CAF A-License course hosted by the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) three weeks ago and by a number of Liphakoe’s players participating in school tournaments during the off-season.

As a result players have not spent as much time together as the club would have liked, he said.

“We can never say we are completely ready for the new season and we can never say we have prepared enough as a team because we faced some challenges ahead of our pre-season,” Ramakatsa said.

“We started a bit late because of the coaching clinics, so we did not really prepare well. Things did not go ahead as planned,” he added.

Because of the disruptions, Ramakatsa could not guarantee if Liphakoe’s new faces have settled in their new surroundings. Liphakoe kick off their Vodacom Premier League quest by hosting Lesotho Correctional Service on Sunday.

“Like I said, we started late. It’s not easy to say whether they have settled and have gelled with their teammates because some of our players only arrived last week. They have been participating in school tournaments,” he said.

One major positive for Liphakoe is they have managed to hold on to star player Tšepo Toloane. The Lesotho Under-20 captain was on the radar of several teams including newly-promoted Sky Battalion.

Toloane was Liphakoe’s inspiration last season and he walked away with club’s player of the season, player’s player of the season and top goalscorer awards for the 2015/16 campaign.

He will again be crucial to Liphakoe’s hopes this season.

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