Lioli, Bantu clash

Lioli, Bantu clash

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Vodacom Premier League champions Lioli say they are determined to end a poor run against rivals Bantu when the juggernauts clash at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.

Lioli are gunning for a historic third successive league title and a fourth in five years.

On Sunday they face their most high-profile test in the form of ‘A Matšo Matebele’, the only side apart from ‘Tse Nala’ to have claimed a championship since 2013.

Speaking to thepost yesterday, Lioli communications and marketing manager Tšeliso Lerata vowed ‘Tse Nala’ will trump Bantu and praised the harmony and momentum the champions have gathered in recent weeks.

Lioli go into Sunday’s crunch clash on a three-match winning streak that has lifted them into a three-way tie at the top of the Vodacom Premier League on 13 points with Kick4Life and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

However, Lioli have not beaten Bantu in the league since a 1-0 win in February 2012. It is a run of nine matches and in that time ‘A Matšo Matebele’ have claimed four wins.

Bantu also defeated Lioli on penalties in the finals of the 2015 and 2013 Independence Cup tournaments.

Nonetheless, Lerata claimed Lioli’s past record against Bantu is deceiving.

“It is true that they do give us problems whenever we meet them, but I was looking at the history between the two teams because our intentions are clear, we want to win.

“I realised the games that they have won against us were mostly in cup games and you will realise that they won on penalties which is something we don’t have an interest in because we want to win games on the field. But in the league we have played draws and they have won a few games,” Lerata said.

He continued: “We are going into this game with the intentions of winning and luckily enough no one is injured except Mohau Kuenane who is still unavailable. This is a big game in the country. Both teams have quality players but Lioli is above Bantu in terms of players’ quality.”

Sunday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 3pm. Gates at Setsoto Stadium will open at 10am and tickets will be sold at the ground for M20.

Lerata added that Lioli supporters are now fully behind coach Halemakale Mahlaha after a rocky start to the season.

“It is normal when there are changes within the technical team that some people will complain but I can tell you now that even those supporters that used to lash out at the coach on social media are now praising what they see and where we are going,” he said.

Lerata continued: “You will remember that it’s only these two teams that have a huge following and the good thing about our supporters is they always come to the game to watch the teams play.”

In the opposite corner, Bantu communications and marketing manager Motlatsi Mofokeng promised the Mafeteng side will continue from where they left off when it comes to Lioli.

Bantu are fourth in the Vodacom Premier League, a point behind the leading trio of Lioli, Kick4Life and LMPS but having played a game less. A win could see James Madidilane’s side end the weekend on top of the table if LMPS and Kick4Life fail to pick up maximum points in their games.

Mofokeng said by now ‘Tse Nala’ should know what to expect from Bantu. He also hit back at his counterpart Lerata saying penalties are part of the game.

“By now everybody knows what happens when we meet Lioli,” Mofokeng asserted. “Very unfortunately penalties are part of the game and Bantu did not invent penalties. Last season in the first round (of the league) we beat them 3-1 and I remember there was only one penalty and the other two goals came from open play from Lazola Jokojokwane.”

Recent league meetings between Lioli and Bantu:

Date Season Result
13-03-2016 2015/2016 Lioli 0-0 Bantu
01-11-2015 2015/2016 Bantu 3-1 Lioli
03-04-2015 2014/2015 Bantu 1-1 Lioli
21-09-2014 2014/2015 Lioli 0-0 Bantu
01-03-2014 2013/2014 Lioli 0-1 Bantu
17-11-2013 2013/2014 Bantu 2-1 Lioli
07-04-2013 2012/2013 Bantu 0-0 Lioli
27-10-2012 2012/2013 Lioli 1-2 Bantu
07-04-2012 2011/2012 Lioli 0-0 Bantu
04-02-2012 2011/2012 Bantu 0-1 Lioli
25-05-2011 2010/2011 Lioli 2-1 Bantu
12-02-2011 2010/2011 Bantu 1-0 Lioli
15-05-2010 2009/2010 Lioli 0-0 Bantu
06-12-2009 2009/2010 Bantu 1-1 Lioli

Weekend fixtures:

Saturday

LMPS vs. LCS (PTC)

Likhopo vs. Matlama (LCS)

Sky Battalion vs. LDF (TBC)

Sunday

Sundawana vs. Liphakoe (Maputsoe DiFA Stadium)

Kick4Life vs. Linare (Maseru)

Lioli vs. Bantu (Setsoto Stadium)

Butha-Buthe Warriors vs. Rovers (Butha-Buthe)

 

Vodacom Premier League standings:

P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Kick4Life 6 4 1 1 14 6 8 13
2 Lioli 6 4 1 1 8 2 6 13
3 LMPS 6 4 1 1 6 2 4 13
4 Bantu 5 4 0 1 10 3 7 12
5 Sky Battalion 6 4 0 2 7 7 0 12
6 Liphakoe 6 3 2 1 6 5 1 11
7 LCS 6 2 3 1 7 5 2 9
8 Matlama 5 2 3 0 5 3 2 9
9 LDF 6 1 4 1 4 4 0 7
10 Linare 6 1 2 3 8 7 1 5
11 Likhopo 5 1 1 3 3 7 -4 4
12 Sundawana 6 0 3 3 3 7 -4 3
13 Rovers 6 0 1 5 3 13 -10 1
14 Butha-Buthe Warriors 6 0 0 6 3 16 -13 0

 

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