Bantu rewrite history


Mikia Kalati

BANTU goalkeeper Thabiso Lichaba was the hero on Tuesday evening at Setsoto Stadium as Bantu eliminated Botswana’s Township Rollers from the CAF Champions League.

A Matso Matebele won the match 4-2 on penalties after the two teams had drawn 2-2 on aggregate over two legs. The two teams had drawn with a similar scoreline in Botswana last week.

James Madidilane’s side ended Lesotho clubs’ long struggle to make it past the preliminary round of the prestigious continental competition.

LDF were the last side to make it past the preliminary round after knocking out another Botswana side, Mogoditshane Fighters 2-1 in 2002.

Lemponye Tshireletso put the Botswana champions ahead in the 16th minute but Bantu fought their way back into the match with a well taken free kick by Hlompho Kalake towards the half hour mark.

Both clubs created a few more goal scoring chances in the first half but were let down by poor finishing.

The visitors enjoyed more ball position in the first half but struggled to get past the Bantu defence for a second goal as the match headed for interval in a 1-1 stalemate

A Matšo Matebele came back a better side in the second half and created clearer goal scoring chances.

Kalake came close to netting a brace but was denied by the post from yet another well taken free kick.

Litšepe Marabe was also lively on the day and gave the Rollers defenders a tough time throughout the match.

None of the two teams managed to find the back of the net in the second half and the match headed to penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Lichaba gave a man of the match performance saving two penalties to send Bantu to the first round of the Champions League and also rewriting the history books.

Lichaba saved penalties from Mosha Gaolaolwe and Mothusi Cooper.

For Bantu, Kalake, Lindokuhle Phungulwa and Tsietsi Khooa all netted their spot kicks for a historical moment for the Mafeteng outfit.

Madidilane couldn’t hold back his tears after the match.

“We went to Botswana as underdogs and that somehow eased pressure on us but coming to this match at home it was so difficult in the sense that if they scored and we failed then it was the end of the road,” Madidilane said.

“So, we came here knowing that any draw of more than goal was game over for us and it was difficult preparing for this match. Our game plan was just to absorb the pressure for the first 15 to 20 minutes and unfortunately we dropped too deep and conceded.”

Madidilane said that they will have to work on his side’s defending going forward.

“It’s unfortunate that in football you can plan but at the end things do not as planned. Conceding in the manner that we did is something that we need to work on especially with the full backs as they always give space to attackers to whip in crosses,” Madidilane said.

Rollers coach Thabo Mutang said he was disappointed with the results.

“We should have finished the game in the first half and it was the same case in the first leg. We wanted an early goal which we got but unfortunately my boys lost concentration and committed silly mistakes which got us punished.

“Congratulations to Bantu,” Mutang said.

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