Bantu face moment of truth


Mikia Kalati

Bantu captain Tlali Maile has sounded the battle cry ahead of a do-or-die African Champions League clash against Association Sportive Mangasport of Gabon on Sunday.

The Mafeteng outfit face Mangasport in the preliminary round, first leg clash of the continental showpiece in Libreville and Maile insists A Matšo Matebele have enough quality to prevail over the Gabonese champions.

With the return leg of the match taking place on 1 March at Setsoto Stadium, Maile believes a good show in Gabon would add to the players’ confidence. The Bantu contingent left for Gabon yesterday and is expected back home on Monday next week.

“We have a team blessed with experienced players and I think we have the muscle and talent to be the first Lesotho team to make it past the preliminary stage of the Champions League competition,” Maile said on Monday this week.

“This is our chance to rewrite the history books and succeed where many of our teams have failed.”

The diminutive defender further said Bantu had shown “massive improvement” this year, winning all their four league matches, as well as the LNIG Top8 quarterfinal match in which they massacred Qoaling Highlanders 8-0.

It is this impressive run and “high spirit” in camp that gives Maile the confidence Bantu certainly need as they embark on a rough journey only the fittest can survive.

“We have improved a lot since the turn of the New Year, which makes me this optimistic that we will break the jinx which has dogged our teams on the international stage for so long. We are ready for Mangasport; the boys are looking forward to proving their worth and show their class.

“This is our moment and I think everyone in the team wants to be remembered for helping Bantu make it past the preliminary stage of this competition.

“Our level of fitness has improved a lot since we played friendly games against South African sides, Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars. Losing those matches was somehow a wake-up call for us,” he said.

Bantu would also be boosted by the goal-scoring form of star-striker Litšepe Marabe.

The talented forward has scored 14 goals in 16 games, and already surpassed last season’s top scorer, Tsebang Lebata, who had 13.

“He is in good goal-scoring form, which is a bonus to the team, and the fact that he also has international  experience will help us in the Champions League. Again, we will need all our senior players to come to lead by example and guide those who have never played at this level,” Maile said.


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