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Matlama ends five-game winless streak



MASERU – Matlama head coach Halemakale Mahlaha praised Moteloa Khemisi for his performance in his side’s crucial 2-1 win over Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) in the Vodacom Premier League on Tuesday.

Khemisi was a standout performer for ‘Tse Putsoa’ and a strong contender for the player of the match award.

Khemisi could have scored a goal for himself but Mahlaha was impressed with how he affected the game even without scoring.

The 2-1 victory ended the champions’ five-game winless streak and Mahlaha said it was a huge confidence booster for his players.

As a coach, he said he is now seeing the fruits of their hard work on the training ground.

Matlama travel to Hlotse on Sunday to face CCX and they will attempt to put together a winning streak and close the gap on Bantu, who have opened a six-point lead at the top of the table.

“The young boy Moteloa Khemisi, I am very happy with him, he performed well.

“I took him out to let him to rest because he had worked so hard and used a lot of energy,” Mahlaha said.

“I needed fresh legs, it was just a tactical change. Number 13 (Nkosinathi Lehoka) played very well, first time I am seeing him play this way he works hard, his energy levels dropped and we had to bring Phafa,” he said.

Mahlaha said Matlama studied LDF’s style of play and made a tactical switch to move Teliso Lekhooa out wide where he was able to start the champions’ attacks.

The plan was to exploit gaps left by LDF fullbacks which Mahlaha claimed Matlama did very well in the first half.

“We knew that LDF play with two strikers and they don’t have wingers so we had to bring similar height of Lisema (Lebokollane) and Shamingo (Rethabile Mokokoane) so that they can manage them when they play long balls.

“Then we pushed Lekhooa out wide because he is more comfortable on the ball than many players, we knew there would be space and we would start our attacks through him,” the Matlama mentor said.

While Mahlaha praised his players, LDF head coach Motheo Mohapi, on the other hand, expressed concern about the absence of midfielder Tšepo Toloane.

His absence left a huge void and it was clear that LDF could not function without the Lesotho international.

“The way I see it, we came here thinking we have won the game. We started well and got a goal but after that everything went wrong.

“The way I see it, we thought because Matlama had been doing badly we have already won,” Mohapi said.

“Football is not like that, everyday a team that is not doing well keeps preparing with the hope that they will win the next game,” he added.

“I was asking my strikers: how many times did you shoot at goal? “Another says one, the other says two in 90 minutes, some say nothing; it tells me they didn’t perform well.”

Weekend fixtures:
Saturday (15:00)
Liphakoe vs. Bantu (DIFA Mohale’s Hoek)
Lioli vs. Naughty Boys (Lioli Ground)
LDF vs. Galaxy (LDF Ground)
Linare vs. Lifofane (DIFA Leribe)

Swallows vs. Manonyane (Nyakosoba)
Machokha vs. LCS (LCS Ground)
Lijabatho vs. LMPS (Morija)
CCX vs. Matlama (LCA)

Tlalane Phahla

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