Bantu eye league title

Bantu eye league title

Maseru-Bantu coach James Madidilane says Bantu are still the team to beat in the Econet Premier League title race despite the side’s Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 disappointment at the weekend.

‘A Matšo Matebele’ face Kick4Life on Sunday at the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Ground looking for solace in the league title chase after a surprise 3-1 defeat by Matlama in the LNIG Top 8 final on Sunday. The Mafeteng giants are a point ahead of rivals Lioli in the championship race with a game in hand although losing to Matlama disappointingly ended Bantu’s hopes of a treble.

Bantu coach James Madidilane said the setback is water under the bridge. He insisted the league title is a much bigger prize. “We are already over the weekend’s game, we cannot blame anyone and I think we still have a bigger cake to fight for, so we cannot cry over a small cake,” Madidilane said.

“We wanted to win everything but these are professional players so we have to pass this situation as the league is more important than anything right now,” he continued.

Madidilane added that Bantu must move forward without feeling sorry for themselves. “We never focus on one game,” he said. “We channel ourselves to focus on every game regardless if it is a league game or not. Every team that we play with for us is a war. We wanted to win (the LNIG Top 8) but we could not.”

Bantu go into Sunday’s clash against Kick4Life looking to avoid something that hasn’t happened to them in over a year – back-to-back defeats. Madidilane admitted another defeat could have a detrimental effect on morale. “We are going back to our routine where we have to win every game,” he said.

“There are games that we are going to draw or lose so we just have to win our next game because if not our morale in the dressing room will be at risk.” It won’t be easy.

Fourth-placed Kick4Life go into the tie with two weeks of rest after not being part of last weekend’s LNIG Top 8 Finals festivities. Leslie Notši’s charges also have lofty targets of their own, namely landing a top four spot for the second season running. In addition, Kick4Life have also proven to be a tough nut for ‘A Matšo Matebele’ to crack.

Indeed, one of Bantu’s two defeats this season came at the hands of Kick4Life – a 1-0 reverse in December. “We are playing Kick4Life and we have to go and fight,” Madidilane said.

“It is not going to be an easy match but we will make sure that we get three points,” he added.  Madidilane insisted winning the Econet Premier League title in addition to their Independence Cup victory earlier in the campaign would represent a very successful campaign for Bantu.

“Winning the league and winning the cup in one season is a sign that a team has achieved so I think winning both will be a blast for us. But it is (only) when we win that we will be happy. We have the experience, we played in (the) CAF (Champions League this season),” he said.

In other games this weekend, second-placed Lioli will host struggling Likhopo in Teyateyaneng knowing a victory will keep them in the title race. Newly crowned LNIG Top 8 champions Matlama, meanwhile, will not be in action this weekend.

Weekend Fixtures:
Saturday

LCS vs. Sky Battalion (LCS)
Sefotha-fotha vs. Linare (PTC)
Liphakoe vs. LMPS (Quthing)

Sunday

Kick4Life vs. Bantu (LCS)
Lioli vs. Likhopo (Teyateyaneng)
Majantja vs. LDF (Mohale’s Hoek)
Time and venues subject to change

Nkheli Liphoto

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