Lioli 0-0 Mpharane Celtics
Lioli were held to a goalless draw by a determined Mpharane Celtics side on Saturday. Lioli went into game needing a win and were the better team throughout.
Lioli were without key players defender Thabo Masualle, midfielder Motlalepula Mofolo and goalkeeper Mohau Kuenane who are on duty with the senior national team Likuena.
Apart from those absentees Lioli were still able to put their visitors under pressure but were unable to get the all-important winning goal.
Vodacom Premier League results
Saturday, January 21
Lioli 0-0 Mpharane Celtics
Likhopo 1-1 Bantu
Linare 2-3 Joy
LDF 1-0 Maduma
To many Lioli fans Sello ‘Muso returned just in time to save to Tse Nala from relegation, and its hard to argue with their sentiments. ‘Muso, who is better known as Scalo, scored the winning goals against LMPS and Lerotholi, and was also the difference in Tse Nala’s 2-1 win over Bantu.
‘Muso’s winner against LMPS was especially sweet because Simunye are a team that has often broken Tse Nala hearts in the past, but thanks to Scalo that 1-0 victory in Teyateyaneng on the 22nd of May ensured Lioli’s safety.
However ‘Muso’s goals not only guaranteed Lioli safety but they also gave Tse Nala a top eight finish.
Speaking to liolifc.co.ls this week Tse Nala’s communication and marketing manager Moeketsi Pitso said Scalo had made the difference for the team when things were not looking too good.
The 2010 Nthane Brothers Holdings Independence Cup winners and 2008/09 league champions had looked in danger of losing their Vodacom Premier League status after a poor run of form left Lioli only one point above the relegation zone as the league season entered its final month.
“He helped us a lot, when you look at where we were just a few weeks ago. He returned to the team and he scored the all-important goals like we all know he can,” said Pitso.
Crowd favourite ‘Muso had not donned the famous maroon strip for four months but Pitso said Scalo quickly regained fitness to fire Lioli to safety.
“Scalo didn’t have match fitness when he came back for his first match against LDF. But he worked hard to get his play back to his normal levels,” said Pitso.
Pitso said ‘Muso had shown signs of getting back to his best for 2012 and help the team get back on the winning trail again.
“He is a quality player and he is beginning to find his feet again and it’s important for us because we hope to have him with us for a long time,” Pitso concluded.
Lioli football club has signed two international players. Mekomba Robert Florisson, who hails from Cameroon, and Ossala-Okoko Nres Sorrel, from Congo, are now Lioli players.
Both players have joined Tse Nala on three-year contracts from Congo side Kotoko.
Florrison, who is 22 years old, plays in midfield while the 21 year-old Sorrel is plays as a centre-forward or just behind the striker. Florrison will bolster Lioli’s midfield department and he adds a new dimension and option for Tse Nala coach Katiso Mojakhomo.
Sorrel on the other hand will add firepower to Lioli’s front-line.
The duo started training with Lioli two weeks ago.
The two players join DRC star Alli Maseka, who has been a big hit with Lioli fans, as foreign players at the Ha ‘Mamathe club.
In an exclusive interview with liolifc.co.ls Florisson said he was delighted to have made the move to Tse Nala.
“Our manager told us about Lioli. We came to Lesotho and we are very happy,” said Florisson. “When you are at training the players have welcomed us and take care of us. We are ready to play our first match,” said Florisson.
Both said they were targeting silverware at the club.
“We also want the club to go forward. Will put all our energy and or effort for the team,” said Florisson.
Lioli football club has hired Lehlohonolo Thotanyana as the technical director of the club. Thotanyana takes over the role with immediate effect and he will be charged with leading and driving the development of Lioli Football Club in all technical matters.
Thotanyana has a wealth of experience having previously coached Lioli and the Lesotho national side. He is currently the assistant to Likuena coach Leslie Notši.
The technical director will work under the executive committee of Lioli Football Club with autonomy as far as technical matters pertain.
He will work with head coach Katiso Mojakhomo and his assistants Retšelisitsoe Lephaila and Thabile Secker.
The technical director will have the following functions:
- Liaise with all coaches in designing and developing training programmes
- Make match analysis and/or assign to that effect and consequently meet for the way forward
- Will meet from time to time with coaches in all deliberations regarding taking the team forward
- Advise the Lioli Football Club executive committee in all technical matters
- Will be responsible in ensuring the establishment of youth within the club
- Shall be responsible for establishing women’s football
- Shall strive for the forging of relations and cooperation with other established teams internationally
- Will be responsible for the playing style and football philosophy of Lioli Football Club
- shall be responsible for the training and advancement of all the coaches at the club
- shall ensure ultimately for the establishment of a fully fledged football academy
Lioli’s youth structures are proving to be very fruitful according to Lioli’s communications and marketing manager Moeketsi Pitso. Over the past three years Lioli has embarked on a drive to strengthen its youth system to make sure young talent is brought through the club ranks.
The drive has already seen several milestones and seen talent being promoted to the first team.
“It is one of the goals of the club… that we produce young players that our technical team will be able to choose from. Development is one of our main goals at the club,” Pitso told liolifc.co.ls.
“We want to produce quality players who also understand the culture of the club, and who will be able to fit into the first team easily,” said Pitso.
The biggest success so far has Montoeli Sonopo who has made a move to Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Promising Nkesi Rankhasa has also been promoted from Lioli’s development structures. He spent a week at English giants Chelsea after being picked as one of the best young players at the Copa Coca-Cola schools tournament last year.
Youngsters Thuso Makoane and Tšeole Ranthimo have also been promoted from Lioli’s development while Pitso Monne, Bokang Sello, Teboho Lekhooa and Bafokeng Mosala have all represented Lesotho all youth international level.
It is part of the club’s vision to produce the best young talents. It is also a vision shared by the committee of the club to unearth talent from the district of Berea.
“So far it is going well and we are proud of the work that we are doing,” said Pitso.
Lioli captain Malebanye ‘Congo’ Ramoabi believes Lioli can still win the Vodacom Premier League. Tse Nala were unfortunate to go down 1-0 to LDF FC on Saturday at Ratjomose. Lioli dominated large parts of the game but went down to a late freekick from LDF FC’s Lengana Nkhethoa.
The loss means Lioli are in tenth place on the log with nine points.
However Tse Nala still have three games in hand on their opponents.
Lioli still have to play Mpharane Celtics, Matlama and Bantu in the first round of the league. Wins in all three games would give Lioli 18 points and would lift the 2009 champions right back into the title picture.
Speaking to liolifc.co.ls Congo said there was still faith in the Lioli squad that Tse Nala can still mount a title challenge in 2012.
“We strongly believe that we have to quality to challenge for the title. We have just been unlucky so far this season,” said Ramoabi.
Lioli is still adjusting to life under new coach Katiso Mojakhomo but Congo said it was just a matter of time until everything clicked.
Ramoabi has been a stalwart in the Lioli midfield and added that he believed the young players coming up would also begin to shine for the club.
Montoeli Sonopo is now in Spain the club can confirm. Sonopo finally made his move to Spanish La Liga giants Atletico Madrid last week.
The promising winger left for Spain after he secured his travel visa.
The 18-year-old Sonopo sealed a three-year contract with the giants last August but had failed to leave because of visa problems.
But Lioli team manager Nthako Nalana confirmed Sonopo had arrived safely in Madrid.
“He has arrived in Spain, though we are still to speak to him directly. But we told he is doing fine and is in good spirits,” Nalana said told liolifc.co.ls.
Before he left Sonopo said he was ready to showcase his talent on the European stage, and although he was feeling nervous, he said he was determined to prove his worth when he arrives at Atletico Madrid.
“I am feeling a bit nervous because this is the biggest break of my career and I will be on my own there,” said Sonopo.
“Despite feeling nervous, the only thing on my mind now is to make myself, family, Lioli and Atletico (Madrid) proud by working hard and prove why I was chosen among many talented African players. I really need to focus on my performance and play well because that will get me a regular place in the team,” he said.
Sonopo becomes the first Mosotho to ply his trade in Spain’s La Liga and also becomes Lesotho’s biggest football export to Europe.
“We wish him all the best in Spain and we will keep a close eye on how he is doing,” said Nalana.
One of Lioli’s aims is to become a self-sufficient and accountable entity. Therefore, with that goal in mind, Tse Nala became the first club in Lesotho to release a financial report at the beginning of this season.
The financial report was for the 2009/10 Vodacom Premier League season and it showed Lioli are a team at the forefront of improvements to the country’s football development by becoming the first club to release a financial report.