Lesotho premier leagueâ€™s most-decorated club, Matlama is a step closer to making history by becoming the first club in the country to win 11 championships.
â€˜Tse Putsoaâ€™ as Matlama is affectionately known, is currently at the summit of the 16-team Vodacom Premier League (VPL) table with 63 points after 25 games, with 20 wins, three draws losing only twice.
This weekend could see the Maseru-based side clinch their 11th title with a win over 11th-placed Manonyane when the two sides meet on Sunday as it needs just three points out of a possible 15.
Founded in 1932, Matlama won their first premier league title in 1969 and most recently won their 10th title in 2019 which left them tied with Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) at 10-10.
In an interview with Newsday Sport this week, Matlama Communications and Marketing Manager (CMM), Tankiso Moletsane, stated that it is not a surprise that Matlama is about to achieve such a feat considering that it is a big team.
â€œMatlama is a very big team, hence it should not come as a surprise that we win this contest because the expectation is to always win the league and every domestic cup available,â€ Moletsane said.
Matlama could have reached the milestone of 11 trophies last year but was delayed due to the interruptions brought by Covid-19 which saw the 2020/21 season being delayed and only set to conclude this year.
Moletsane said that the interruptions and the suspension of premier league action only motivated the team to be more determined to prove its might.
â€œApart from Covid, we were also met with other challenges as a club such as the re-signing of players since the league would run one season into three years, but as I said being a big club, we could easily adapt.
â€œAnother challenge that hit us was having to pay people who are not working but it was our obligation because the players, technical team and the backroom stuff have contracts that had to be honored,â€ he said.
Earlier in the season, â€˜Tse Putsoaâ€™ parted ways with their coach Charles Manda who at the time had only played seven games, winning five and losing two. Manda was replaced by former Molebatsi Mothobi who has since been in charge of the club to this day.
The former Mazenod Swallows coach had a task of challenging the defending Champions Bantu for the title with the Mafeteng-based side on pole position until they were rocked by internal issues that led to the departure of their long-serving coach, Bob Mafoso.
According to Moletsane, the league is already theirs as nothing can stand in their way; all that is left is but a formality.
â€œOur aim is to win all the remaining games so that we do not only break one record but a couple including most goals and more points collected in one season. â€œThe team is still intact and ready to complete the job in style. The boys mean business, they are full of a winning mindset for the remaining games and this Sunday we will only be missing Rethabile Mokokoane who is serving a red card suspension,â€ Moletsane said.