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Winners & losers of the season



MASERU – The curtain finally came down on the 2022/23 Vodacom Premier League season with Bantu being crowned the champions for the fifth time in their history.

‘A Matšo Matebele’ sealed the title last Saturday at Setsoto Stadium with a 3-0 victory over Lifofane.

The Mafeteng giants went into the game virtually champions because of a healthy three-point lead and goal difference cushion they had over second-placed Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) who had a tough trip to Leribe to face Linare on the final day.

LDF ended up losing 2-0 to Linare.

After an entertaining league campaign where there have been surprise packages and some awful performances, we look at the clubs that have had good seasons and those that come out of this campaign losers.



Last season was a bad one for Bantu who failed to defend their title and jumped from one interim coach to another in a scramble to save their season.

However, the champions came prepared this season and corrected their mistakes. It was clear that their intentions were different from day one.

South African tactician, Abram Mongoya, was brought in at the start of the season and many predicted Bantu would win the title.

At some point those predictions appeared to be comfortably on track and it looked as if ‘A Matšo Matebele’ were running away with the championship.

However, a poor run of matches between February and April allowed their competitors back into the title race. Bantu lost three out of four games in that period and LDF leapfrogged them when they beat the Mafeteng side 1-0 early last month.

That result in Mohale’s Hoek saw Mongoya leave his position as the head coach and it appeared LDF were in control while Bantu were in turmoil.

However, LDF inexplicably slipped up and allowed ‘A Matšo Matebele’ to reclaim top spot and Bantu never looked back.

After giving the reins to Bob Mafoso on a short-term contract last month, Bantu won five of their six games to seal the championship. Although Mafoso does not like taking credit, he turned the club’s fortunes around and inspired confidence into the players who looked more motivated after he took over.

It is Mafoso’s second league title for Bantu as a head coach after leading them to the crown in 2020 before he left for Lioli.

It is fitting that Bantu end the season with a double after winning the People’s Cup in April to bring their total prize money for the season to M750 000. Bantu started the season without a recognised experienced centre forward.

Tšeliso Botsane and Thabiso Mahola as well as Sentle Masale were the players trusted with goals. Mahola was decent for the first 10 games but fell off. Botsane is the one who enjoyed the most game-time but his return in terms of goals has been poor.

He found himself in good positions but lacked the finishing touch and that was his story the whole season. If he could finish, Bantu would have blown teams away easily.

It wasn’t until Litšepe Marabe returned from a short stint overseas in January that Bantu started posing a serious threat upfront.


This has been Linare’s best season in almost a decade. ‘Tse Tala’ have failed to finish in the Top 4 for nine seasons in a row and have been a mid-table club that has not had a double digits point advantage over relegation teams during that time span. In fact, to find the last time Linare finished in the Top 4, you have to scroll down to the 2013/14 season when they finished third.

This season Linare contested for the league against a very good Bantu side and were rewarded with a second-place finish. This is progress the club can build on for next season and push further.

In his maiden season with the club, Leslie Notši has done a good job, far better than any other coach. Yet, he has been whistled by entitled Linare fans who think they know better than the former

Likuena coach and has been vilified by some members of the media for the type of football he plays. That is the football that has made Notši who he is, and Linare appointed him knowing how he likes to play.

Where this entitlement comes from is astonishing for a club that hasn’t won anything. Numbers do not lie, this has been Linare’s best season and they would be foolish to let Notši go. After all, their beloved Tebogo Moloi finished below eighth in the league last season and he left them languishing in mid-table when Notši took over last year.


LMPS were perhaps one of the most improved teams in the league this season and are deservedly in the Top 4. This is a team that struggled to score goals in the first six games of the season. They had more draws than goals but somehow picked themselves up as the season progressed.

Goal-scoring is a big problem for the police side, they have scored the least number of goals in the Top six but they have also conceded a low number. Only Bantu (13) and Linare (16) have conceded fewer goals than ‘Simunye’ this season.

Their solid defence led by Likuena captain Basia Makepe did a solid job and Makepe also chipped in with goals for the club. If they can improve on this performance, there is no reason why they cannot push for a top two finish next season.



There is no other place to start than the defending champions who did everything in their power to embarrass themselves this season and succeeded at it. This has been a horrendous season for Matlama and the despicable behaviour of their supporters in Morija earlier in the season is the icing on the cake.

Fresh off from a trailblazing and historic season, where they blew out the competition, Matlama failed to even get fourth spot and finished sixth. They are deservedly the biggest losers. Matlama’s season did not start amazingly. It was understandable, it was the beginning of the season and it was understandable that everyone in the league hadn’t found their mojo yet but the fans lacked patience.

Mothobi Molebatsi who delivered an 11th title last season resigned after being attacked by supporters and Matlama brought in Halemakale Mahlaha to steady the ship. Mahlaha oversaw a six-game winless run that saw them drop out of the title race.

Although they were never in the race, ‘Tse Putsoa’ were responsible for some of the sensational victories in the league that added spice to the title race. The 2-1 victories over both LDF and Bantu are the standouts.

Jane Thabantšo once again was Matlama’s standout performer and main source of goals this season. He finished as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals and shared the golden boot accolade this season with Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Hlomelang Lebina.


Lioli seem to be the losers every season. If you want to know how their season went, revert back to our write-up last season. It is the same old story with just a few edits. In fact, this season they were worse. Lioli regressed from their performance last season which was a disgrace, but somehow, they have managed put on a worse show.

For four consecutive seasons now Lioli have finished outside the top four and they have not been close to challenging for the league title since 2018 when they finished second. Last season, ‘Tse Nala’ finished fifth on the log with 53 points, this time around they dropped to eighth position with 42 points.

Once again, their poor performances were underlined by a lack of squad depth. They started the season with Bob Mafoso and there was hope that this season would not be like previous ones, after all they had one of the best coaches in the league. But even Mafoso could not perform miracles with a squad of unknowns who get overwhelmed by Lifofane at home.

Switbirth Kum has been the bright spark for the club and, perhaps, if all the players had his work ethic, Lioli could have finished higher on the log this season.

The chaos and unsettled management have been responsible for the downfall of the club in the past years. This season was no different with players saying the president Lebohang Thotanyana had abandoned them, an accusation Thotanyana vehemently denied.


For three seasons in a row, Swallows had been fighting relegation and somehow surviving but this time around it wasn’t meant to be. In 2018/19 they survived on the last day beating LCS 1-0, before that they had registered two wins in a row and finished three points above relegation.

The following season Swallows looked nailed on to go down, but the Covid-19 pandemic hit football and they were saved as the season was cut short. Last season, their former player Teele Ntšonyana stepped in on a voluntary basis and saved the club.

The lucky escapes were not sustainable for the club. It was clear things needed to change but instead things went even worse with Ntšonyana leaving the club in the middle of the season and his replacements have not done any better. Now the club finds itself in the A Division.

Tlalane Phahla

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