Shale rallies Bantu
Bantu coach, Motlatsi Shale, says he is aware of his team’s tight schedule in 2015 but believes his players have what it takes to make an impression in the various tournaments they would be taking part in.
In addition to their regular Premier League matches, the Mafeteng-based outfit are also going to take part in the LNIG top8 and 2015 Confederation of african Football (Caf) Champions League competitions—a tall order for any team no-matter its depth in talent.
Bantu begin the second round of the 2014/15 football season with a tricky clash against resurgent Likhopo on 10 January, and then face league rookies Kick4life a week later. the following weekend, Bantu play the first leg of the LNIG Top8 quarterfinal whose second round is scheduled for the weekend of 14-15 February. this is the same week the Caf Champions League gets underway, with Bantu facing Gabonese side as Mangasport in Libreville.
However, Shale remains confident his charges would handle the pressure that comes with such a heavy schedule.
“We are faced with a very busy timetable as soon as the second round resumes,” Shale said. “that is the reason why we did not give the players off-days for the Christmas holidays because I had to keep them in shape.”
Shale also told the Lesotho Times that while the team would have wanted to sign new players for the Champions League, they would still not have been eligible for the early stage of the tournament.
“If things go according to plan, we have to get some new signing to boost our squad but unfortunately, we cannot use them for the Champions League unless we qualify for the later stage of the competition. But still, we can use the players in domestic matches if we manage to get them.
“there are some big names we are hoping to sign although I cannot reveal their names at the moment.”
Shale emphasised the need to add more players, insisting: “It is going to be a very heavy schedule as you can see, but the important part is how one prepares his squad for the challenges ahead.
“this is where we are focusing our energies on—to make sure the players are well prepared both mentally and physically. they have got to be at the same level as their counterparts from other african countries when we take part in the Champions League, which is why we need to ensure they are adequately prepared.
“On Monday next week, we will be taking our players to a high performance training centre in Bloemfontein, and after that, start with our fitness programmes at Lehakoe.”
Shale further said there was still time to prepare his team for the Champions League and ensure it is as good as any.
“We have five weeks to get the team ready and I think we still have time because there are several competitive friendlies lined-up before then. there is also the top8 competition we will be taking part in, so we will ensure we are well-prepared for the competition.
“the plan is to go beyond the preliminary stage of the Champions League, which is why we will be leaving no stone unturned as we prepare for the competition.”
Bantu coach Motlatsi Shale