Tough test for Bantu

Tough test for Bantu

MASERU – Econet Premier League champions Bantu are gearing up for a mammoth clash against Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) on Sunday and ‘A Matšo Matebele’ coach James Madidilane says his charges are looking forward to the challenge.
Speaking yesterday, Madidilane admitted the match would be a tough examination but said the Mafeteng side are gunning for maximum points.
With the way things are going at the top of the league, Bantu probably need all those three points on offer at the LCS Ground.

Once again ‘A Matšo Matebele’ appear to be in a two-horse race for the championship with Lioli. Currently, ‘Tse Nala’ are top with 23 points while Bantu are a point further back. The third-placed team, Lesotho Mounted Police Service, meanwhile, already find themselves six points adrift of the top two after only nine games played.

So, with the pace between Bantu and Lioli so relentless, it means both have to keep winning to stay in the race.
It is a fact not lost on Madidilane but he didn’t want to put any added pressure on Sunday’s game.
“The plan is still the same as always, our preparation started on Monday,” he said.

“We are preparing for this game just the way we prepare for any (other) game but this is going to be a tough encounter. This is one team that when we play them you could say they have an edge. They always make it difficult for us.”

LCS are sixth in the league, seven points behind Bantu. However, the last time the sides met in the league ‘Masheshena’ held ‘A Matšo Matebele’ to a hard-fought goalless draw. That draw is one of only five occasions Bantu have failed to win in 23 league games in 2017.
“I think the last games we played them were 50-50 or 60-40,” Madidilane said of LCS. “The last game we played them they were on top of their game, so we have already started preparing for them.”

Bantu’s preparations have at least been made smoother by last weekend’s return to winning ways with an empathetic 3-1 victory over premiership newcomers Majantja.
Before then ‘A Matšo Matebele’ had been humbled 1-0 by Kick4Life, a loss Madidilane called a wakeup call for his team after starting the season unbeaten.

“Playing without a loss was starting to put us under pressure and I think the loss against Kick4Life was the right knock for us, it was a wake-up call to us that ‘hey you maybe winning but you still need to do this and that, and fix here’,” he said.

“However, it is still early,” he added. “We have just only played nine games and the second round of games is still coming.”
Bantu go into Sunday’s tie with one of the league’s best defensive records having conceded just three goals while they have managed to find the back of the net 17 times to give them a league-best goal difference of plus-14.

‘Masheshena’, for their part, head into the clash after holding log leaders Lioli 1-1 last weekend and will be looking to building momentum of their own as they seek a return to the league’s top four. In other games this weekend, Lioli are away to Sefotha-fotha on Saturday while Matlama host Majantja on Sunday.

Weekend Fixtures:
Saturday
Sefotha-fotha vs. Lioli (TBC)
Liphakoe vs. Kick4Life (Quthing)
Linare vs. LDF (Maputsoe DIFA Ground)
Sunday
LCS vs. Bantu (LCS Ground)
Matlama vs. Majantja (TBC)
LMPS vs. Likhopo (PTC)

Luciah Phahla

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