Title in Matlama’s hands, says  Madidilane

Title in Matlama’s hands, says Madidilane

MASERU – Bantu coach, James Madidilane ,says the Econet Premier League title is in Matlama’s hands.
With four weeks to go until the end of the season, the champions are eight points behind Matlama though they do have a game in hand.
Bantu play that game in hand on Friday when they travel to Mohale’s Hoek to face Majantja. Madidilane’s side will then remain in the south on Monday to take on Liphakoe in Quthing in what is a pivotal weekend for ‘A Matšo Matebele’.

Madidilane admitted as much saying the upcoming double-header against their southern foes is critical to his side’s chances of retaining their Econet Premiership title.
Simply put, Bantu have to win both games to stay in the title race.
There is also the small matter of gaining momentum for their very next match after this weekend – a May 4 mega-clash against Matlama which could decide the fate of the championship.

With the title picture as it is, Madidilane declared Matlama as firm favourites to win the league adding that ‘Tse Putsoa’ will have to “throw the title away” in order for Bantu to end the campaign as Lesotho champions for the third year running.
“Everything is in Matlama’s hands now, if they want to give the league back to us they will lose,” Madidilane said.

“I do not think we stand a chance (of winning the league) but we are still in the race so it is important to win all (our) remaining matches.”
Those games will come thick and fast, starting with this weekend, and they will test Bantu’s mental strength and their star-studded but tiring squad.
Can ‘A Matšo Matebele’ keep fighting after such a taxing season? Do they have enough left in the tank to overtake Matlama?

In a season which has involved numerous cup dates as well as extensive travels in Africa, Bantu will go into this weekend’s action having already played 31 games in all competitions this season.
It is the most matches played by anyone in the country and eight more than rivals Matlama who will rest on Friday while ‘A Matšo Matebele’ are busy in Mohale’s Hoek.
‘Tse Putsoa’, 2-0 winners over Likhopo last Saturday, will only return to action on Monday when they host relegation threatened Majantja at Setsoto Stadium.

“The fact that we will be playing on Friday and Monday will not be easy because both games are away from home,” Madidilane said.
“If one match was at home, maybe it would be much better. On the other hand, we are also not going to be able to make proper preparations for Monday’s game because on Saturday maybe we can train, but on Sunday we will not do much preparations as we will be playing again on Monday,” he added.

Bantu’s task will not be made any easier by the absences of Lehlohonolo Mothetsi and Litšepe Marabe who have been ruled out because of injuries.
They also face two sides desperate for points over the next four days.
Majantja are trying to avoid relegation and eighth-placed Liphakoe are fighting to secure a top eight finish.

As such, Madidilane said Bantu can’t worry about what Matlama is doing in any way. Bantu have to take care of their business first.
“I do not worry about Matlama anymore, now we are focused on winning the remaining games we have. If Matlama win all their games then they will be crowned the champions,” he said.
“What is left for us is to not worry about Matlama because, to be honest with you, we are not at the same level with them. They are above us, we are not competing with them and we have to accept that,” added the Bantu boss.

Despite labelling Matlama as favourites for the league title, Madidilane still urged side “fight to the end and show pride”, just as they did in Sunday’s 2-0 win over recently crowned LNIG Top 8 champions, Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
It was an impressive victory that reminded of the foundations on which Madidilane built his two previous title-winning teams: a solid defence and an exciting array of offensive talents.

The question now is whether or not Bantu can keep the Econet Premier League crown in Mafeteng again.
“If Matlama lose (to Majantja on Monday) and we win (against Majantja and Liphakoe), the chance will come to us and, again, if we win against them (on May 4) we will become champions but for now it is still in Matlama’s hands,” Madidilane said.
For now, Bantu can only hope for the best.

Run-in for title contenders:

Matlama

22 April – Matlama vs. Majantja

28 April – Galaxy vs.  Matlama

4 May – Bantu vs. Matlama

12 May – Matlama  vs. Sefotha-fotha

18 May – Matlama vs. Linare

 

Bantu

19 April – Majantja vs. Bantu

22 April – Liphakoe vs. Bantu

27 April – Bantu vs. LCS

4 May – Bantu vs. Matlama

11 May – Lioli vs. Bantu

18 May – Sefotha-fotha vs. Bantu

 

Bantu’s busy season:
Competition Games played
Econet Premier League 19
Independence Cup 2
CAF Champions League 4
CAF Confederation Cup 2
LNIG Top 8 4

 

Econet Premier League standings:

P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Matlama 21 16 2 3 40 11 +29 50
2 LCS 22 13 6 3 31 12 +19 45
3 Bantu 20 12 6 2 37 7 +30 42
4 Lioli 22 11 2 9 27 17 +10 35
5 LDF 22 9 7 6 17 17 +0 34
6 Kick4Life 22 9 5 8 22 24 -2 32
7 Liphakoe 22 7 9 6 20 16 +4 30
8 LMPS 22 8 6 8 18 16 +2 30
9 Likhopo 22 9 2 11 20 35 -15 29
10 Sefotha-fotha 22 5 11 6 17 21 -4 26
11 Linare 22 5 7 10 16 25 -9 22
12 Galaxy 22 4 4 14 14 27 -13 16
13 Majantja 21 4 3 14 18 39 -21 15
14 Swallows 22 2 6 14 11 41 -30 12

Nkheli Liphoto

 

 

 

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