Ruthless Bantu put LMPS to the sword

Ruthless Bantu put LMPS to the sword

MASERU – Rampant. Ruthless. Merciless.
We are running out of words to describe Bantu’s impressive opening weekend performance against Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) as the Vodacom Premier League returned to action after four long months.

With that time on the side-lines you would expect a lethargic, slow game but it seems the champions just continued where they left off last year in December and LMPS were no match at all for them. It looked as if Bantu had been competing all along while LMPS looked like they met on the day and organized themselves for a random day out. It is undeniable that ‘A Matšo Matebele’ have a big squad that boasts quality in every position and their team is full of national team material.

If that is how Bantu look like after not playing for months, you can only guess what they will do once they get their momentum in three or four games.
From the first minute Bantu’s intentions were clear, they wanted to get an early goal to settle down and to wreck LMPS. Lazola Jokojokwane nearly put the champions ahead within five minutes but Moerane Sekhoane was too close and collected the ball.

Eventually in the 10th minute Bantu captain Litšepe Marabe opened the scoring with a superb strike and all Sekhoane could do was to watch it roll into the net. LMPS would feel they were not totally outplayed as they were still able to get the ball out of their own half and tried to create problems for Bantu but they could not test Ntsane Lichaba at all, only one good ball that Bokang Mothoana delivered into the box from a free kick it could have gone anywhere but somehow, Bantu got it out of danger.

Fothoane doubled Bantu’s lead in the 23rd minute to take the game away from ‘Simunye’. Going into the half-time break, the champions were in total control and the second half was no different as Marabe bagged his second goal of the day. Both Kalake and Jokojokwane had chances to extend the lead but could not convert their chances.

Head coach Bob Mafoso was delighted with the victory and said the first games are always important to win as they set the pathway.
A loss piles the pressure but a victory helps build momentum and nobody knows this better than Mafoso who won his first league title with Bantu unbeaten last season. He said having not played for such a long time, it is difficult now as the games are coming quick in a short period of time. While winning and building momentum is important, Mafoso says they will manage their games and players, but said making too many changes disrupt the rhythm of the team.

“We thought they would be behind the ball but we got spaces, we said let’s see if they (LMPS) can go three minutes without the ball,” Mafoso said as he analysed Bantu’s win over LMPS.
“I think it helped because one or two (changes) came and we found spaces. Also I don’t think there is a team that head the ball like them here in Lesotho, we tried to avoid giving them corners, I don’t think we gave them corners, did we? I don’t think we did, they did have a free kick. It was about defending in the air and not allowing them to come near our corners, when we have the ball it was about building.” He said.

Last year, Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) announced the new rules to be used this season, due to the coronavirus and teams not playing for a long time, clubs will be allowed to make five substitutes using three opportunities during the 90 minutes of the game. Mafoso said with limited opportunities to make changes it is difficult as at some point two substitutions have to be made, but said they are going to try have their best players on the pitch in every game.

“Where we are forced to make changes we have no choice, we have a big squad of quality players but remember lot of changes can make you lose rhythm, even now you saw the drop off so it’s difficult even making substitutions because you have three opportunities, you are forced to sub in two players at some point and when you do that you kill the rhythm,” Mafoso said.

Either way, the champions are back in business and look even meaner than before. If the results of the opening weekend are anything to go by, the title race could be very interesting. Next on Bantu’s agenda is Liphakoe this weekend.

Tlalane Phahla

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