Mafoso shines

MASERU-On Sunday, Bantu coach Bob Mafoso marked his 21st league game in charge of the Mafeteng club and his record couldn’t be more impressive.
To say Mafoso has met expectations after joining the club last year would be an understatement. Since arriving from Kick4Life last off-season Mafoso has made Bantu a juggernaut and after 21 games they have won 19, drawn two and are yet to taste defeat in the league.

It is an incredible record that led ‘A Matšo Matebele’ to the league title last season when they went unbeaten for 18 matches before the championship ended in March due to Covid-19.
This season Bantu have picked up where they left off by winning all three games they have played so far and that form has the Mafeteng giants on top of the league once again.

In keeping Bantu at the top of Lesotho’s food chain, Mafoso has managed one of the hardest tasks in football which is to replace a successful coach.
Normally, that is a difficult job for even the best coaches but Bantu’s players have bought into Mafoso’s style and demands which has allowed him to seamlessly take over from popular South African mentor James Madidilane.
Madidilane delivered back-to-back titles to Bantu in 2017 and 2018 which made him a darling all over Mafeteng.

When he departed last year, it was unclear who would come in to replace him and if the replacement would have the same effect.
Bantu struck gold with Mafoso who was Madidilane’s assistant for the 2017 and 2018 title wins before he left to become the head coach of Kick4Life for the 2018/19 season.

Speaking to thepost this week, Mafoso reflected on his second stint at Bantu – now as the man in charge – saying it has been difficult and interesting.
Mafoso said the team is growing and evolving the way he wants them to.
Under Mafoso, Bantu have scored 53 times in 21 games which is the most in the league during that span, and they have conceded just seven goals.
On Sunday, Bantu continued that impressive scoring run beating Lijabatho 2-0 with goals from Litšepe Marabe and Lazola Jokojokwane.

Although the score-line would suggest it was a close game, it was far from it – ‘A Matšo Matebele’ could have scored more than five goals.
Mafoso said he is happy Bantu are creating more scoring chances.
“I am just happy that we are creating a lot of chances; you know why I am excited? It’s because we know what we should be working on. In all our games we didn’t convert all our chances which means we are able to defend our goals, we are able to hold on to the ball, we are able to get into the attacking third of opposition and create chances,” Mafoso said.

Mafoso said his charges are getting better at playing as a team and attacking and defending the way they want them to.
The progression is noteworthy given Mafoso has not had a full preseason with his squad since arriving in Mafeteng which he admitted has been challenging.

He said it is not easy to play against other teams as champions but he is happy his charges are still getting the desired results despite difficult games.
Bantu’s ambition is always to do well in continental club competitions and they were unable to progress to the next stage of the CAF Champions League after losing 1-0 on aggregate to Zambia’s Nkana earlier this month.
Mafoso said Bantu’s failure was a bit disappointing.

“We know where we want to go, we know why we are not scoring, we are not scoring because we are not converting our chances, it’s not like we are not scoring because we are not creating chances,” he said.
With games coming thick and fast because teams are playing during mid-week and on weekends, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has adopted FIFA’s temporary rule allowing the use of five substitutions in the elite leagues with immediate effect.

The adjustment means teams will now be able to make five changes instead of three and the use of the substitutions will follow the global system of three opportunities to make changes excluding halftime substitutes.
There will also be two water breaks, one in each half, in order to aid the hydration of the players and match officials.

Mafoso talked about the changes saying they are positive, especially when a coach wants to alter the flow of the game. More substitutions also give teams with bigger squads a chance to give more players game time.
“That is the positive,” Mafoso said.
“You always want to make changes in a game, but do you really have to make changes? Yes, because some players get tired. Do you have to make changes? It’s probably yes, because the situation will drive you there. And, when you look at it, depending on the game, you can rest others for the next game,” he added.

“These games are hard when they come in numbers but it’s just that in football when you say no to one thing you are given another thing to deal with,” Mafoso said.
“You don’t want to make changes, but when you start to make a lot of changes then you lose the team’s rhythm, so you have to find a balance.”

Bantu’s results under Mafoso:

14/09/19Bantu2 – 0Sefotha-fotha
28/09/19Bantu3 – 1Liphakoe
06/10/19Lioli0 – 2Bantu
23/10/19Bantu4 – 0Lifofane
26/10/19Linare0 – 1Bantu
29/10/19Bantu2 – 1Likhopo
03/11/19Matlama1 – 1Bantu
23/11/19Lijabatho0 – 1Bantu
27/11/19Bantu3 – 0LMPS
08/12/19Bantu2 – 0LCS
21/12/19Bantu6 – 0Swallows
12/01/20Kick4Life0 – 5Bantu
18/01/20LDF0 – 1Bantu
25/01/20Swallows0 – 3Bantu
08/02/20Bantu3 – 1Kick4Life
16/02/20Bantu1 – 1Matlama
23/02/20Bantu4 – 2LDF
08/03/20Lifofane0 – 1Bantu
12/12/20Kick4Life0 – 3Bantu
17/12/20Bantu2 – 0Lifofane
20/12/20Bantu2 – 0Lijabatho

Tlalane Phahla

Previous Matlama, Bantu maintain perfect starts
Next Rugby Giants axed

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