The Battle for Lesotho

The Battle for Lesotho

Bantu, Lioli clash in heavyweight tie……………

MASERU – Local football fans will be treated to an Econet Premier League (EPL) spectacle on Sunday when Lesotho’s two football heavyweights, Bantu and Lioli, clash for the first time this season. The match, hosted by Lioli, will be played at Setsoto Stadium in what can only be described as a clash of the titans.

Both teams head into the game enjoying great runs in the league and occupy first and second position on the Econet premiership log.
After 11 matches played, Bantu lead the standings with 26 points. Following closely behind them are ‘Tse Nala’ who have 24 points from 10 games after their 2-0 opening day win over Sundawana was scratched when the Butha-Buthe side was kicked out of the league last month nullifying all results involving ‘Tse Bo Yellow’.

So, even though it is only December, Sunday’s match between Bantu and Lioli could have serious ramifications in the title chase because it is already looking like a two-horse race between the two juggernauts that have monopolised the league title since 2013.
Lioli won the championship in 2013, 2015 and 2016 while Bantu were champions in 2014 and last season.

Not only are Bantu are looking to take a step towards defending their crown, they are out to continue their recent dominance over the league’s big guns with their latest success coming two weeks ago in a 4-2 victory over Matlama in Maputsoe.
The Mafeteng giants also got the better of Lioli in the sides’ last meeting, a 2-1 win for ‘A Matšo Matebele in March which set the course for their 2016/17 championship triumph.

However, despite their recent success against their rivals, Bantu head coach James Madidilane rejected the notion his charges are the favourites against Lioli. “I disagree that we have an advantage,” he insisted.
“If you remember, the last time we played (Lioli) it was tough and I am expecting a tough encounter (again).”

Madidilane added: “I am not a person to rely on history, history is for historians. For me what matters is what will happen on Sunday. Our preparations have been the same and we are looking forward to the game.”

Lioli, for their part, have thrived under caretaker coach Motebang Makhetha who took charge when Halemakale Mahlaha quit the club in October.
Since then ‘Tse Nala’ have won five of the club’s seven games and are the only team to remain undefeated this season. Another win on Sunday would see Lioli grab an early stranglehold in the title race.

Meanwhile, all this weekend’s Econet Premier League games will be played on Sunday to allow fans, coaches and players to attend Saturday’s burial of Majantja coach and former Lesotho international, Motlatsi Shale.

Last three games for both teams:
Lioli:
02/12/2017: Lioli 2-1 LMPS
25/11/2017: Sefotha-fotha 1-1 Lioli
19/11/2017: Lioli 1-1 LCS
Bantu:
03/12/2017: Bantu 4-2 Matlama
26/11/2017: LCS 0-0 Bantu
18/11/2017: Bantu 3-1 Majantja

Weekend fixtures:
Sunday
LCS vs. Likhopo (LCS, 3pm)
Lioli vs. Bantu (Setsoto Stadium, 3pm)
Majantja vs. Kick4Life (Mohale’s Hoek, 3pm)
Sefotha-fotha vs. Sky Battalion (PTC, 1pm)
LMPS vs. Linare (PTC, 3pm)

Nkheli Liphoto

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