Bantu face Linare

MASERU — On Saturday Bantu host Linare in a game between two of Lesotho’s oldest clubs.
Mafeteng’s Bantu were Lesotho’s first mega-side to dominate football in the 1930s and 40s until they were matched and then surpassed by Matlama and Linare.
In the late 70s it was Leribe’s turn to dominate the local game when Linare won successive championships in 1979 and 1980, adding to their maiden league triumph in 1973. To affirm their dominance Linare swept all trophies on offer in 1980.
However, recent years have not been kind to these two giants. Linare are without any silverware this decade while this is Bantu’s first season back in the Premier League after four years in the first division.
Their last trophy was the Independence Cup in 1997.
Nonetheless a fixture between Bantu and Linare is always unique and both sides are desperate for three points in this fast-paced Vodacom Premier League. Both sides are high on confidence after victories in their last league games last Sunday, Bantu beating Mphatlalatsane 2-1 in St Monicas and Linare overcoming Roma Rovers 1-0 in Hlotse.
“We already had confidence. It just built on the confidence the team already had but confidence doesn’t mean you won’t lose games,” Linare coach Pitso Mosothoane said this week.
Linare, who are unbeaten away from home, travel to Bantu who are in sixth place. Mosothoane said he was not surprised with the start Bantu made this season.
“Not really, I saw them play very well in the first division last season and also in the MGC Supa 8 so I’m not surprised at all,” he said.
Mosothoane who was part of Linare’s last title winning side also believes this crop can break the 29-year-drought despite Linare’s inconsistent early season form. The Leribe side are ninth on the table.
“It is still early in the season. We are playing for the league,” he said.
“We don’t deny that football is a game of defence and attack. Relatively speaking we have nothing to complain about. What we have to do is prepare ourselves properly for Bantu,” Mosothoane said.
But Linare are set to play without three key players after captain Molefi Mosebo was added to the injury list on Sunday alongside top scorer Pita Matekane and experienced striker Kabelo Mosothoane, who has been helping out this season.
“Not unless a miracle happens he (Mosebo) won’t play,” Mosothoane said.
But Mosothoane said Saturday’s game is important in particular considering the history between the two clubs.
“For us whenever we go away to any of the major district sides it is always a big game. The name of the club is at stake. Bantu are a team we have a long history with,” Mosothoane said.
Elsewhere, Ratjomose sees a big game of a different variety when league leaders LDF take on fourth placed Likhopo.
Also on Saturday, Matlama have to opportunity to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to LDF when they host Butha-Buthe Roses who got their first win of the season at Pitso Ground last weekend.

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