LVA snub youth championship for All Africa Games
BANTU were given a rude awakening with their 3-0 thumping by South African premiership outfit Bloemfontein Celtic as they prepare for the 2015 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League competition which gets underway in the second week of February.
No doubt the defeat underscored the need for A Matšo Matebele’s technical team and players to put more effort in the few weeks remaining before their first leg match against Gabonese side Mangasport.
While Bantu fans were understandably disappointed with the result, all hope is not lost and the team can still perform well against Free State Stars on Sunday.
The defeat, however, laid bare the glaring gulf which still exists between the local league and that of our neighbour.
There is still a long way to go before local teams can compete with sides from more competitive and professional leagues.
This sad reality was more apparent when considering the fact that the core of the Celtic side mostly consisted of players from the team’s reserve side playing in the Multi Choice Diski Challenge.
Admittedly, Bantu coach Motlatsi Shale has not had the full complement of the squad training together as some players were tied up because of work commitments.
The absence of players is another issue that should be addressed in the remaining weeks before the continental fixture.
Star striker Tsebang Lebata’s injury is yet another headache for A Matšo Matebele who are already worryingly thin in the striking department.
It is disconcerting to note that the powers that be at Bantu have failed to reinforce the squad ahead of this important competition.
Bantu have been far from convincing since the 2014/15 season started, and it was already clear their squad needs a shake-up to keep some of the key players on their toes.
The team’s management should have gone all out to add quality players to their squad in the same manner they did a few years ago.
In their last major haul, Bantu brought in Thapelo Mokhehle, Dlomo Monaphathi and Liteboho Mokhehle thereby making the side one of the best in the country.
I thought they would follow the same route which brought the club success in a short period of time.
The team’s key players also seem to lack the passion and drive they showed in the last three seasons in which Bantu won the league title, for the first time in 87 years, as well as three back-toback Independence Cup trophies.
Bantu’s major challenge now is ensuring the fitness of their players, both mentally and physically, to ensure they have the wherewithal to play at the highest level of club football on the continent.
I wish A Matšo Matebele all the best because the nation wants to see them doing well and making it past the preliminary round of the competition. THE Lesotho Volleyball Association (LVA) is set to snub the upcoming Volleyball African n Junior Championship scheduled for Egypt next month to focus on the he All Africa Games qualifiers.
LVA public relations officer, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, told the Lesotho Times their ir under-20 team will no longer take part in the continental qualifiers in Egypt and will instead focus only on the All Africa Games which will be held in Brazzaville, Congo.
“During our meeting on Saturday, we decided it is better to focus on the qualifiers of the All of Africa Games, as we had a lot of reasons not to take part in the qualifiers set for Cairo,” Ntsibolane said.
“We looked at our calendar dar of events and, because there e will be a lot of activities, had ad to prioritise based on our financial position. We then chose the events that would suit us.”
He said they would deploy a senior team which would also feature a number of the under-20 players during the qualifiers for the All Africa Games.
“The All Africa Games are a bigger competition ( than the junior championship) and we will also have assistance from our government since the team would not just be representing the association only, but the whole country,” said Ntsibolane.
“The qualifiers start some time in April and our coaches will select the best players to help us secure qualification for the Brazzaville games.”
Ntsibolane also said their domestic volleyball season would kick-off in February, starting with play-offs to determine the teams that will compete.
The Redskins were the volleyball champions in both the male and female leagues, and will have to be at their best to defend their titles this year.
File Pic: Matlama veteran midfielder Pali Tšalong (right) tussles for the ball with Bantu defender Thapelo Mokhehle during VCL Premier League clash at Setsoto Stadium.
LVA public relations officer Letsatsi Ntsibolane