Bantu seek to extend lead at the top

Bantu seek to extend lead at the top

Maseru  – With things so tight at the top, the Vodacom Premier League title could be decided on the last day, on goal difference.
The top three, Bantu, Lioli and Kick4Life, are separated by a single point meaning every game is crucial and one mistake could eliminate a contender from the title race.
This weekend is no different for Bantu and Kick4Life.

With Lioli busy with the CAF Champions League on Saturday, this is Bantu’s chance to extend their lead at the top of the table and move four points clear of the defending champions.
However, they must first get past Matlama on Sunday at Setsoto Stadium. ‘Tse Putsoa’ claimed maximum points when the sides met in the first round last month.
Matlama will also be out for revenge.

Last Saturday, Bantu emerged 2-1 winners in the first leg of the sides’ Lesotho National Insurance Group LNIG Top 8 quarterfinal.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses the respective rivals will be eyeing as they prepare to do battle for the third time in the space of a month.

Bantu
Strengths:
Anyone who wants to topple Bantu should match their midfield strength; this is where they always win their games. Their midfield has been a revelation this season and has been dominant in almost every game.
Hlompho Kalake has played a key role in this regard with his rare ability to influence the game going forward and also help the team defend.
For Matlama boss Seephephe Matete it is simple, he knows exactly where to tame Bantu and bring them under control: midfield.
Weaknesses:

With Bantu boasting international quality from the starting line-up to the bench, it is difficult to point out weaknesses.
Nevertheless, head coach James Madidilane has often complained about a lack of communication between his players and not being clinical in front of the goals.
After last month’s 1-0 league loss to Matlama, Madidilane argued that had Bantu taken all their chances, they would have wrapped up the game in the first half.
Coming into this game Madidilane knows Matlama will come out guns blazing in a bid for revenge; ‘A Matšo Matebele’ have to take their chances in order to minimise the danger Matlama will pose.

Matlama
Strengths:
Matlama have talented players in the middle of the park and that is where they build their attacks from. Matete’s side also like to play the ball wide to their wingers to add pressure on opponents in the final third.  Midfielders Phafa Tšosane and Jane Thaba-Ntšo are constant threat to the opposition in this approach as they constantly venture forward to add numbers in attack.
Tšosane is also deadly at set-pieces which something Bantu will have to be careful of on Sunday.

Weaknesses:
Matlama are one team that creates a lot of chances but habitually fails to take them. Matete has previously stated that training sessions often focus on finishing which is remains an obvious weak point for ‘Tse Putsoa’. However, after scoring a hat-trick in Matlama’s 8-0 win over Butha-Buthe Warriors two weeks ago in their last league outing, the club’s fans will hope last season’s Vodacom Premier League golden boot winner Motebang Sera has found his scoring boots again.

Luciah Phahla

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