King Moshoeshoe I, the founder of the Basotho nation, had four sons namely Lerotholi, Seeiso, Masupha and Molapo. All of these sons were made regional chiefs. At the time the Basotho nation was divided into two territories – north and south.
Two sons, Masupha and Molapo, were given northern region while the other two sons, Lerotholi and Seeiso, were given southern part. However there were no clearly defined boundaries between these territories and neighbouring country South Africa, and because of this reason a war emerged.
The war came about because Basotho and South Africans residing in the Free State province had a conflict of interest on certain areas of land. The war was called the Siqiti war. The Siqiti war or Second Basotho War as it is sometimes called broke out between the people of Moshoeshoe and the Orange Free State (South Africa). The war lasted for a decade and a half.
It was because of this war that Basotho regional chiefs found it necessary to amass legions of warriors so as to protect King Moshoeshoe, his people and their own possessions. The legions were given different names for various reasons. Chief Molapo named his warriors Linare (Buffalos), the reason behind the name was the abundance of buffalo in his territory. Chief Lerotholi named his warriors Matlama, the name that was formally given to his father and his band of schoolmates at traditional circumcision. Chief Seeiso named his warriors Mabeoana and Chief Masupha named his warriors Lioli (Hawk) because there was plenty of these birds in his territory.
Immediately after the war era the chiefs began to establish football clubs and the teams were named after the legions of their respective regions. Chief Masupha had chosen Berea as his permanent settlement and he named his team Lioli, his warriors, when the team was founded in 1934. Chief Masupha chose to use bird-hawk colours – dark maroon, black and yellow, a beautiful bird. All these colours in Sesotho symbolise “Nala” meaning prosperity in English, and the slogan of the team became Tse Nala.
After its formation in 1934 Lioli performed very well, winning several trophies in Lesotho's informal league at the time. That success qualified Lioli for the “Champions League” of Southern African countries teams.
This was a league played by teams which had the league titles in their respective countries. It is in this league that Lioli got the chance to play against Tanzania outfit Maji Maji. Lioli also played against a Zambia team named Red Devils. Lioli won both these games.
It is with these performances that Lioli gained popularity and earned the team the nickname ‘Sound Abroad’.
Since the formation of a national premier division in 1970 Lioli has won two league titles. The first triumph came in 1985 under the leadership of then president Bambatha Tšita and the skills of Ace Potlako Tšiu amongst others.
Lioli’s second triumph came in 2009 when Mosholi Mokhothu led Tse Nala to the title armed with the talents of the likes of Bushy Moletsane, Sello ‘Muso, Thabo Masualle and Malebanye Ramoabi.
Lioli has also won two Independence Cup trophies, the oldest cup competition in Lesotho.
These successes have contributed to giving Lioli the largest supporter base in Lesotho.
1984: Independence Cup
1985: League Champions
2008: Imperial Top 8
2009: League Champions
2010: Nthane Brothers Holdings Independence Cup