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Matlama boss relishes Linare challenge



MASERU – Matlama head coach Molebatsi Mothobi is relishing his side’s battle against Linare on Saturday in the Alliance Winter Challenge in Maputsoe.

Mothobi said Matlama have a score to settle with their Leribe rivals after ‘Tse Tala’ beat them twice in the league last season. The battles between Matlama and Linare go back almost 100 years and Saturday will be the latest instalment.

The two giants, along with Bantu, Majantja and Lioli, were foundation members of what was then called the Basutoland Sports Association, the predecessor for the Lesotho Football Association.

They first clashed in the Basutoland Football Cup which was the first “nationwide” tournament introduced in Lesotho in 1932. 90 years later and Matlama are looking for revenge after Linare spoiled their league-winning party with a 2-0 walloping when the sides met in May, also in Maputsoe.

“We have a battle with them, they beat us twice last season so we still want to settle the score,” Mothobi said.

The clash will be the second semi-final of the four-team bonanza with Lioli and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) scheduled to duke it out first in the morning before all eyes shift to the contest between Maseru and Leribe later in the day.

Mothobi said the clash has added spice because it will be another step in Matlama’s preparations for the CAF Champions League.

‘Tse Putsoa’ will face Coton Sport of Cameroon in the continental tournament’s preliminary stage with Matlama hosting the first leg on September 9 before travelling to Cameroon a week later.

“It is one of the things we looked at, Linare could give us what we want,” Mothobi said.

“In as much as we want to win, we want a good performance and we should also get something from the match,” he explained.

It will be an interesting first look at the champions who have been criticised for a lack of international friendly matches in preparation for the CAF Champions League. However, Mothobi insisted Matlama are on track given when they started training.

‘Tse Putsoa’ are also still expected to play a friendly match against South African ABC Motsepe League side D’General after the Alliance Winter Challenge which will make up for a cancelled game against DSTV Premiership outfit Sekhukhune United.

“We are doing well, people are expecting too much but don’t know what is happening in (training),” Mothobi said.

“There is no time, I am happy; the competitions we are playing in have stopped us from having friendly matches because we were supposed to play Sekhukhune but we cannot because we are playing Alliance on the weekend,” he added.

Before that, however, Matlama will have to take care of Linare, who are coached by South African football legend Tebogo Moloi. Mothobi said ‘Tse Tala’ are tricky opponents because they have adopted a South African playing style that is different from what Matlama normally face.

“Linare has that thing, I think because of their coach they have adopted that (South African style). They pile pressure and move the ball fast; when you lose the ball, you have to get it back quickly.” Mothobi said.

“When you play them, you know you will get something,” he added.

“I think when we play them, they are more focused and they want to win, so it will help us.”

The Alliance Winter Challenge will be played over two days in Maputsoe with the final scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The winners will pocket a cool M25 000 jackpot.

Tlalane Phahla

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