Bantu prays for miracle in Mbabane

Bantu prays for miracle in Mbabane

MASER – Bantu coach James Madidilane was left to rue mistakes after ‘A Matšo Matebele’ were battered 4-2 by Mbabane Swallows in the first leg of the sides’ preliminary CAF Champions League tie at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
The Mafeteng giants now have a mountain to climb in next Wednesday’s second leg tie if they are to end almost 20 years of pain for Lesotho in the continental showpiece.

For Bantu to have any chance of qualifying for the first round, they will have to score at least three goals in the Swazi capital, Mbabane.
And, speaking after his Bantu’s crushing loss, Madidilane admitted his side faces a mammoth task. However, the South African tactician kept a brave face.

“They scored here and I also believe we can go there and score three goals. However, we also have to make sure we don’t concede,” Madidilane said.
“We have nothing to lose,” he added. “Even here at home we never approached the game with the intention to defend but it just happened that we made mistakes and conceded goals.”

No local side has qualified for the first round of the Champions League since 2002 when Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) beat Botswana’s Mogoditshane Fighters 1-0 on aggregate.

With Bantu going strong in the Econet Premier League there was optimism ‘A Matšo Matebele’ would be the side to break the country’s duck. Setsoto was packed in anticipation as Basotho came out to support Bantu, creating an electric atmosphere at the national stadium.

However, the crowd was soon silenced in shock when Mbabane Swallows took an early 11th minute lead through Felix Badenhorst.
To their credit ‘A Matšo Matebele’ did not surrender and pushed forward for an equaliser and found it when Tsietsi Motšeare found the net two minutes later.
Unfortunately, though, the early goals turned the encounter into an open affair which jeopardised Bantu’s pre-match plans of not conceding away goals. The home side’s worst fears came to fruition in the 17th minute when Tony Tsabebze struck from the penalty spot.
And, although Hlompho Kalake equalised in the 33rd minute, the 2-2 halftime score was already a perilous one for the home side.
Things went from bad to worse in the second half as two mistakes by the hosts allowed the Swazi champions to establish a two-goal lead through a Wonder Nhleko strike and Tsabebze’s second goal.

More importantly, ‘A Matšo Matebele’ conceded four away goals.
It means if Bantu score anything less than three goals in Swaziland they will lose the tie on the away goals rule.
Madidilane admitted his charges will have to alter their tactics in the second leg.

“I think our approach is going to change a little bit but there is no way that we are going there to defend, instead we are going to add more attacking players to try and get those goals but being aware that we don’t concede,” he said.

Revelling in his side’s decisive win afterwards, Mbabane Swallows coach Thabo Vilakati lifted the lid on their pre-game preparations. He revealed the visitors knew nothing about the Lesotho champions but devised a plan to neutralise the hosts.
“Before we came into this game we didn’t know anything about Bantu,” Vilakati said.

“But I knew that they have many South African players, and I know South African players like to keep the ball on the ground and they are skilful so we wanted to close down the spaces so that they cannot play. We tried to get the possession and press them and that helped us a lot,” he added.
The plan worked perfectly.

“We didn’t want to sit back and catch them on the counter because we knew that they were new in this tournament and they were afraid of us. But they have exposure now,” Vilakati said.
“But I am not entirely happy because we conceded,” he added.

“We shouldn’t have conceded. At this stage you don’t concede goals like that; my players were a little bit childish.”
Even so, Mbabane Swallows will head into the second leg as the clear favourites.
Bantu, on the other hand, need to pull off a miracle in the Swaziland capital to progress.

Nkheli Liphoto

Previous Khereng leads race for top award
Next Matlama takes on Kick4Life in LNIG Top 8

About author

You might also like

Sports

Mahlaha to unleash ‘secret weapon’

MASERU – Likhopo coach Halemakale Mahlaha is hoping to unleash three new faces when his charges face in-form Kick4Life at the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Ground on Sunday. The two

Sports

Kick4Life ready to roll

Luciah Phahla Maseru – Kick4Life are officially ready to roll. Just two years after gaining promotion to the Vodacom Premier League, life has changed for the Old Europa club; today

Sports

Taekwondo duo in South Korea

Luciah Phahla Maseru The taekwondo duo of Moloisane Marumo and Ramosoeu Nkuebe are in South Korea for a month-long competition and training stint. Marumo and Nkuebe together with national coach