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Lioli’s rare chance for silverware

Business

Seabata Mahao

Lioli FC will have a chance to salvage something from their wretched season with a rare cup win this weekend when they face Bantu FC in the final of People’s Cup competition.

Having faded into oblivion in recent years including this season, Lioli suddenly find themselves one match away from lifting silverware; something which the Teyateyaneng-based outfit has failed to do in many years.

Currently languishing in position eight of the 16-team log table, the once mighty Tse Nala, has become an ordinary club following years of perennial under-achievement, and winning the People’s Cup could provide the necessary stimulus to revive this sleeping giant going into next season.

Their vibrant and colourful legions of fans would welcome the cup win after parting with their hard-earned money to vote their favourite club into the semi-finals of the competition.

In the semi-finals, Lioli beat LDF FC on penalties to reach the final in Mantšonyane last weekend, while Bantu defeated Linare FC advance to the final.

In an interview with Lioli spokesperson, Kananelo Ramokoatsi, they will not take anything for granted as they have a mandate to win the competition.

“We are looking to make a great come back, our status on the log is improving and we have won our last three matches,” he said.

“We are looking for a clean sheet win, but anything can happen during a football match so a win is a win no matter how but we are going to win the match as Bantu FC owe us for the two draws we have (in the league this season).”

Lioli drew with Bantu in both the first and second round of the 2022/2023 season.

The two premier league giants have been long-term rivals, and with Bantu on course to win the league title this season, Lioli will want to make sure that Bantu does not win a cup double by the end of the season.

Bantu spokesperson, Pule Mosoati, they want nothing but a win come Sunday.

“We have to win this match against Lioli even though we have not won against them this season, we have to win and take the cup.

“Our players are fully fit, mentally and physically also Neo Mokhachane, who has been sidelined due to injuries is now back and will be playing as he looks for a great come back.”

“With the new head coach who is from Lioli FC, we have so much advantage over them. We want to show them that they have lost a diamond and we treasured it,” Mosoati said. 

Adding to the feistiness of the tie between Lioli and Bantu is the fact that Bantu’s current caretaker coach, Bob Mafoso coached Lioli last, and it will be interesting to face his former club against his current club.

Sponsored by Matekane’s Group of Companies (MGC) and Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) to the tune of M600 000, the competition is organised by local company, Molefi Global Agencies in collaboration with the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC).

All 16 premier league teams participated in competition through voting by their respective supporters, and four top-performing teams, Linare, Bantu, LDF and Lioli FC made the cut for the competition.

Winners of the competition will take home M200, 000 in prize money. Runners up will walk away with M100, 000, while the third placed club will get M60, 000. The fourth club will get M40, 000 for their efforts.

The final will take place at Setsoto on Sunday afternoon, preceded by the loser’s final for a third place position.

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