Bantu, LCS to lock horns in Independence Cup final

MASERU — Bantu and LCS will clash in a mouth-watering Independence Cup final next Saturday with either side looking to create their own bit of history.

The tournament, co-sponsored by Metropolitan and Standard Bank, will see the winner walking away with M40 000 in prize money.

But for Bantu and LCS it’s about more than just the money.

Bantu’s goal is to end their long 17-year trophy drought.

“Our mission is to win the trophy. LDF was the toughest team in the competition and after beating them there is nothing that can stand in our way,” Bokang Phasumane, Bantu’s communication and marketing manager said confidently after his side’s penalty shootout win over LDF on Tuesday.

To claim glory though, A Matšo Matebele will have to get past LCS who will be looking to grab their second major silverware of the year.

“When we go into any competition our aim is to win it, so we are not yet finished. There is still one more team to beat,” said Moseme Moseme, LCS communication and marketing manager.

Both teams have every right to be confident after their respective semi-final victories in what was a spectacular day of football on Tuesday to mark Lesotho’s Independence Day.

All four sides that took part in the tournament showed there is still life in Lesotho football.

The first semi-final saw league champions LCS beat Linare 2 — 1 in an intriguing affair.

The match followed a similar pattern to the sides’ league fixture a fortnight ago in Hlotse with Linare applying the pressure but LCS grabbing the crucial goals.

Masheshena’s opener came early on, courtesy of the in-form Thulo Ranchobe who has started the season like a house on fire.

But, backed by their travelling supporters, Linare rallied in the afternoon sun and clawed their way back into the contest.

Tse Tala however lacked the cutting edge in the final third and LCS always offered a threat at the other end.

Linare keeper, Dyke Tšiu, was outstanding and kept his side in the game with some brilliant saves.

Searching for an equaliser Linare were punished late on by Lawrence Molengoane who made it 2 — 0 after a swift counter-raid.

Linare pulled one back from the penalty spot through Tatolo Mphuthing but their pressure in the end came to nothing.

Masheshena were joined by Bantu who beat LDF in a thrilling match after penalties.

Bantu had made their intentions clear from the start with their entrance and showing that they are on their way to being a semi-professional team.

The first chance of the match came in the 10th minute as a great corner-kick delivery from LDF’s Lengana Nkhethoa saw Mokoenanyane Moahloli head the ball towards goal and it brought a great reflex save from the acrobatic Daniel Jousse.

Bantu came back and Mosiuoa Boseka’s great run brought a save from Rethabile Qejoa and the rebound was just out of the reach of Mokone Marabe who couldn’t direct the ball into the net.

The best chance of the game though came a little while later against great work by the outstanding Boseka and an exchange with Lekhanya Lekhanya.

The second half was marked by the entrance of LDF stalwart Malefetsane Pheko who showed his nous three minutes into the second half with a well-placed strike from the edge of the box after Bantu failed to clear the ball from a corner kick.

But Bantu responded well and in the 78th minute Tefa Makhooane grabbed the equaliser.

That forced the match into penalties and Bantu came out 6 — 5 victors after Matli Matli’s miss in sudden death.

“All the players played well. I can’t pick out any players, it was a team effort,” Phasumane said.

“We played very well. The players told themselves they were going to win the match and they did it,” he said.

All in all it was a great day for the country’s football.

All the four teams looked professional in attractive attire.

And while there were outstanding displays from Linare keeper Tšiu and LDF right-back Janefeke Molibeli, who both walked away with the M1 000 man-of-the-match awards, there was quality all-round.

The final on October 15 will hopefully be another great occasion for Lesotho’s football.

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