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Bantu still the team to beat

by Lesotho Times

ECONET Premier League defending champions Bantu boosted their chances of winning their third league title in a row by beating Matlama 1-0 at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday.

This was a make or break for both teams as a win for Matlama could have given them an advantage in the race for the championship while Bantu also needed the win to improve their chances of defending their title.

In the end, Bantu were the better team and walked away with the three points and the bragging rights against their arch rivals.

On Saturday James Madidilane’s side proved that it is still the team to beat in the league and will not go down without a fight in the race to defend their title.

Matlama have been unstoppable since the beginning of the second round and had gone on a six-match unbeaten run but faced their first real test when they clashed with an experienced Bantu side.

Bantu simply proved that the experience of playing on the big stage pays and were the better team throughout the match.

Madidilane once again proved that he is one of the best young coaches in the league and continues to get the best out of his squad that had shown signs of fatigue earlier in the season.

One of the things to be admired about Madidilane is how he has taken control of the dressing room at Bantu.

He is not afraid to make big decisions and drop some of his big-name players in the star-studded squad and in the end, it has worked wonders for him.

Madidilane has also been rotating his squad which has helped them recover quickly after the busy schedule that included playing continental football.

A lot of people expected him to struggle after losing the services of his assistant coach Bob Mafoso, who is now in charge of Kick4Life. However, that has not been the case and I think Madidilane deserves credit for the work he has done with Bantu since he came into this country in 2016.

As for Matlama, I think the match was more of a reality check for them and it will require mental strength to bounce back from the setback as they are still on top of the table with 41 points.

Tse Putsoa will surely now feel the heat and cannot afford to drop more points in their next matches as LCS also won at the weekend to cut their lead to just a point while Bantu is now six points behind with two games in hand.

For me Matlama’s squad lacks the depth that Bantu and LCS have as both Madidilane and Mpitsa Marai (LCS coach) have rotated their squads throwing in some of the youngsters in the deep end.

Tse Putsoa on Saturday missed the services of their injured top goal scorer Lebajoa Mosehlenyane, who has been the source of goals along with Motebang Sera.

His absence was and it also made life difficult for Sera playing against Bantu defenders, who wanted to a prove point.

Madidilane has not been afraid to play youngsters like Neo Mokhachane, who is in his first year of top-flight football having joined from third tier side Ace Maseru at the start of the season while Tse Putsoa have not given their youngsters such as Moteloa Khemisi a lot of game this season.

Mokhachane was a marvel to watch on Saturday and will surely get better with time.

Credit also goes to the two sets of supporters, who came in big numbers on the day. There has been a massive improvement in at league matches especially when both Bantu and Matlama are involved.

The atmosphere at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday was a good display for the beautiful game in the Mountain Kingdom.

Deputy Prime Minister Ntate Moleleki as well as the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, Mme ‘Mahali Phamotse also deserves a pat on the back for always making time to grace sports activities as was the case on Saturday.

However, that can never be enough for our country that is in serious need of sports infrastructure. We need more from the honourable deputy Prime Minister and the sports minister.

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