Having returned to top flight football last season after receiving promotion from the Mvela League, Stars have exceeded their own expectations and find themselves in fourth spot with half the 2007/08 campaign completed.
“It would be a great achievement if we could maintain our current position, but our goal at the beginning of the season was to finish in the top eight,” Lechesa tells snl24.com/kickoff.
The Free State side have, of course, lost the services of exciting winger Fanyana Dhladhla to Mamelodi Sundowns and experienced striker Sifiso Vilakazi to Ajax Cape Town.
However, past experience has shown that Stars have the strength in depth to overcome the loss of their top stars, while they have also delved into the transfer market, where they snapped up, among others, former Bloemfontein Celtic, Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards striker Collins Tshabalala.
“The new players have had time to settle down and I am sure they will be good signings,” says the former Ajax Cape Town and Black Leopards’ player of the new acquisitions.
Lechesa is expecting a tough game against the physical Cape side:
“We played well against Santos in the opening round but could only manage a draw (2-2) down in Cape Town. This time we are playing at home and we want all three points – we want to kick start the second half of our season with a win, but we know we are in for a tough battle,” adds Lechesa.
Santos midfielder Mogogi Gabonamong will likely be doing battle with Lechesa in the centre of the park tomorrow and the Botswana international has called on his team-mates to lift their games as the second half of the season gets underway for the Peoples’ Team in tomorrow afternoon’s clash at Goble Park.
“It’s time to pick up the pace,” Gabonamong tells snl24.com/kickoff while traveling on the team bus to the Free State.
“We had a slow star to the season but before the break we were starting to find our rhythm; we need to continue where we left off. Our objective is to be in the upper half of the table, we don’t want top be fighting relegation in a few months time.”
While the Cape Town outfit has elected not to make any major signings during the transfer window, tomorrow’s game will be the first PSL match for new coach David Bright, who left the Botswana Under-23 side to take charge at Santos.
Both Bright and his counterpart Kinna Phiri are reported to have a clean bill of health for their respective squads as the teams goes into what is likely to be a closely-fought encounter in Bethlehem tomorrow afternoon.
Kick off is at 15h30.