Madidilane refuses to panic

Madidilane refuses to panic

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Bantu head coach James Madidilane says it is too early for the Mafeteng giants to panic after last Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Kick4Life in the Vodacom Premier League.

‘A Matšo Matebele’ lost the closely contested top of the table clash at the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Grounds and dropped down to third in the league.

Bantu’s day was further marred by violence from their supporters who attacked match officials after the defeat.

Bantu face potential sanctions as a result.

However, speaking to thepost after the game, Madidilane was unfazed at the loss saying it was simply not the Mafeteng side’s day.

Bantu’s Litšepe Marabe missed a penalty in the first 45 seconds of the game and Madidilane said the result would have been different had the striker converted.

The only goal of the game came minutes later when Kick4Life striker Thabiso Brown converted from the spot after 10 minutes.

“It’s too early; it’s only our fourth match, so why should we panic?” Madidilane said adding the match was a learning experience.

“Most of my players were average today that is why this happened. So we cannot blame anyone, it’s a learning chapter for us. In football if on a particular day you have more than three players in the field of play who are average, you are likely to lose, so for us it is a learning curve. (The players) didn’t give us what we expected, the players’ performance will fluctuate but if you have more than three average players it is very difficult.”

He added: “Remember we were playing against a team that is on top of the league. You don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s why we pushed forward in the second half.”

Madidilane said he took time to make changes but lamented the lack of impact from his substitutes.

“I thought let’s give the starting players 10 to 15 minutes (in the second half) that’s when we can make changes but our substitutes did not make any difference for us,” he said. “Tough luck for us, we have to accept. Their game plan worked. We still have matches to go. In the next match we have to rectify whatever we didn’t do correctly in this match.”

Madidilane also praised Kick4Life.

“They are very smart and whatever they are doing is working for them. They wait for you and when they get a chance they score,” he said.

“I watched them and I told the players in the first 20 minutes let’s try and get a goal because they sit at the back. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it, we missed the penalty. Should we have scored that penalty maybe the results would have been different. But we are saying let’s go back to the drawing board and plan again,” he emphasised.

Bantu made four changes to the team that smashed Butha-Buthe Warriors 4-0 two weeks ago. While many questioned the sudden change, Madidilane defended his decision by saying it was tactical.

He continued that Bantu did not lose because of the changes they made to their line-up.

“The changes we made did not affect the game,” he said.

“We said let us start with the team that finished the last 15 minutes of the game against Butha-Buthe Warriors, everyone was saying ‘wow that was good’ (with those players who finished the game against Warriors,” Madidilane said.

“We said let us continue with it, but very unfortunately in football whatever you plan might go right or wrong and today it went wrong for us but it wasn’t about changing the players. It didn’t work out for us, but we cannot cry over that. You win some, lose some and draw some.”

He said Bantu are still on course to challenge for honours this season. The 2014 champions are three points behind Kick4Life in the 26-match league campaign.

“We are still on the right track. (Kick4Life) have got 12 points (and) we are sitting on nine,” he said. “It’s still early; we have 22 matches to play. If it was the 25th game (of the season) I would panic but right now I can’t panic.”

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