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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:


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



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:

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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Rabale eyes Champions League glory



Lesotho women’s team captain Boitumelo Rabale has her eyes on winning her second CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football is scheduled for Ivory Coast from November 5-19, where eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned Queens of the continent.

“Queen”, as the Lesotho star is commonly known, was part of the Sundowns squad that was crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the tournament held in Egypt two years ago, becoming the first player from the Mountain Kingdom to taste Champions League success.
She has become one of the key players in Jerry Tshabalala’s squad having walked away with the Hollywoodbets Player of the Season in the previous campaign and currently leads the goal-scoring charts with 21 goals.

“It was exciting to win the CAF Women’s Champions League with Sundowns two years ago and in the process becoming the first player from Lesotho to do so,” Rabale said.

“I felt very lucky and honoured to make history. It gave me confidence to continue working hard and strive for more success with the club”
Sundowns head to the tournament as regional champions after clinching the COSAFA qualifiers to qualify for the continental showpiece, where they will kickstart their campaign against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.

Rabale admitted that memories of losing the last final to AS FAR still haunts them, but they head to Ivory Coast a better team than in the last tournament.

“We learnt the hard way when we lost in the final to AS FAR and we come back a better team having rectified our mistakes.

“It’s our dream to conquer the continent again and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to get our second star in Ivory Coast.

“It will be very good to add the second CAF Champions League medal to my trophy cabinet,” she said.

The 27-year-old has been prolific for Sundowns this campaign having scored nine goals in her last five matches to take her tally for this campaign to 21 goals.
Sundowns are in Group A alongside tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan, Sporting Casablanca of Morocco, as well as Tanzania’s JKT Queen.

Since joining Sundowns in 2021, Rabale has won the Hollywoodbets Super League twice, the COSAFA Zonal qualifiers twice as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League and is the reigning Hollywoodbets Player of the season.

Tlalane Phahla

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Red Skins fail to raise funds for championship



Lesotho volleyball giants Red Skins have failed to raise funds for the 2023 Zone 6 Senior Indoor Volleyball Club Championship they are set to host in December.

Red Skins will host the competition together with four other local volleyball clubs – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Station (LMPS) and Rivers – and the tournament is expected to start on December 7 and end 10 days later.

Without any funds or sponsors coming in, Red Skins will have to foot the bill from their pockets for the tournament which will see teams from 10 countries converge on Maseru.

Among the participating nations, Botswana is expected to bring the biggest contingent with 12 teams, with Zambia following closely behind with nine teams while Zimbabwe is set to be represented by six teams.

Two weeks ago, Red Skins participated in the Elite Cup in Gauteng, South Africa, which was hosted by Aqua Darshan Volleyball.
Red Skins hoped to win the tournament and return home with a hefty jackpot but they only collected M5 000 which was won by the men’s team.

A gala dinner that Red Skins hosted last weekend also failed to generate income due to low attendance and speaking to thepost on Tuesday, the club’s vice-captain, Moleboheng Mofolo, said they will have to push on with what they have to host the tournament.
Mofolo said they no longer have time to come up with other means to raise funds.

“Tournaments will require us to find sponsorships and we do not have time now, we have to focus and train well,” Mofolo said.

“Our coach already told us to camp from this week but rain is our biggest challenge because we cannot continue with the training,” she added.

Mofolo said Red Skins are fortunate that participating teams are going to take care of their accommodation and catering. She said if Red Skins had to provide those services, they would not have been able to manage.

She pleaded with individuals, organisations and companies to help the team, whether it is by offering accommodation, food, or whatever little they may have.

Tlalane Phahla

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Giants avoid each other in Top 4 clash



Women Super League (WSL) giants Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies and Kick4Life Ladies have avoided each other in the WSL Top 4 knockout competition.
The two-day showpiece takes centre stage this weekend at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena and it will see last season’s top four finishers in the league – LDF, Kick4Life, Lijabatho and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Ladies – go head-to-head for bragging rights.

The draw for the competition took place last Friday and the semi-finals will see LDF go up against Lijabatho while Kick4Life will take on LMPS Ladies.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday with the tournament culminating the following day.

Sunday’s proceedings will kick-off with a third-place playoff game to determine who walks away with the bronze medals before the final later in the day.
All four games over the two days will be streamed on the FIFA+ website and the WSL Top 4 will usher in a new sponsor this year.

In the past, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) fully bankrolled the competition, however, Computer Business Solutions (CBS) has come on board with a sponsorship for the first time.

The competition’s prize monies have not been revealed because they are still being finalised, but, speaking at last Friday’s draw, LEFA’s associations secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the relationship with CBS is one that sport should engage in.
Mohapi added his hopes that the relationship will be a long-term one.

“While others are busy at their thing, we should really grow ours so that when their distraction finally ends, they find us as united as we can be as the football community,” Mohapi said.
“(We should be) united by the efforts and inputs that emanate from the business community, especially when it is a truly Lesotho business entity because other (foreign entities) are here to take money,” he said.

Addressing CBS as the tournament’s sponsor, Mohapi said: “We are thankful as LEFA for your initiative; (we) hope you will be in this marriage quite long. We know we are just testing the waters but we have a lot that can entice you to stay longer, not only my command but the instruments that we have.”

Mohapi said LEFA’s dream is that in two years’ time all league matches will be streaming on the FIFA+ platform which was launched last April by football’s world governing body to increase exposure of men and women’s football around the globe.

Currently, only three grounds in the country have the structures for broadcasting; Bambatha as well as the grounds at LDF and Lesotho Correctional Service grounds, and all are in Maseru.
LEFA plans to add more grounds to the list with the DIFA facilities in Maputsoe and Mohale’s Hoek set to be the first to follow suit.

“All our women’s competitions, cup competitions and (Vodacom) Premier League matches that will be played in those stadia that have our infrastructure – we will be able to stream those games internationally,” Mohapi said.

“We have extended our footprint,” he added.

“We are now doing LDF – we have already put up the structure – then we are moving to Maputsoe and, hopefully, Mohale’s Hoek. It is our desire that in two years’ time we will hopefully cover all the matches and put them on the FIFA+ streaming platform.”

WSL Top 4 fixtures:
Saturday (Bambatha)
Lijabatho Ladies vs. LDF Ladies
LMPS Ladies vs. Kick4Life Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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