Shale fan­cies Bantu chances

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

With Bantu less than two weeks away from their maiden ap­pear­ance in the African Cham­pi­ons League tour­na­ment, coach Mot­latsi Shale, re­mains un­fazed de­spite the mag­ni­tude of the task at hand.

The Mafeteng out­fit face As­so­ci­a­tion Sportive Man­gas­port of Gabon in the pre­lim­i­nary round of Africa’s most pres­ti­gious club com­pe­ti­tion, with the first leg sched­uled for 15 Fe­bru­ary in Li­bre­ville and the re­verse at Set­soto Sta­dium on 1 March.

how­ever, Shale says Bantu are ready for the big stage and had made sig­nif­i­cant strides fol­low­ing suc­ces­sive losses against South Africa’s Bloem­fontein Celtic and Free State Stars last month.

Against Celtic, Bantu were ham­mered 3-0, while nar­rowly los­ing 1-0 to Free State Stars in friendly matches Shale had hoped would give his charges the much-needed in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure .

“i think there has been a lot of im­prove­ment since those de­feats be­cause we have been hard at work try­ing to im­prove our weak­nesses,” Shale said.

“those friendly matches against Celtic and Free State Stars were not about re­sults, but testing the team so that we can work on our weak points.

“We have been push­ing hard to make sure we are ready in all de­part­ments of our game, and i be­lieve we have man­aged to rec­tify many of the goals and also that this is hap­pen­ing at the right time be­cause we will need him to con­tinue with this form in the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion,” said Shale.

“But all in all, i think the whole team has been do­ing well; Marabe has been hog­ging the lime­light be­cause he is scor­ing goals, but his team­mates have been pro­vid­ing the as­sists, which he has been putting away.

how­ever, i’m very happy that his fin­ish­ing has im­proved, and this gives us a chance go­ing into a tough com­pe­ti­tion such as the Cham­pi­ons League.”

Shale also be­lieves the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ers such as in­spi­ra­tional cap­tain tlali Maile, thabo Ma­su­alle, and thapelo Mokhehle, would be very cru­cial in the con­ti­nen­tal chal­lenge.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence will be very key in this com­pe­ti­tion and luck­ily, we have a num­ber of play­ers who have been play­ing for the na­tional team, Likuena, for years,” he said.

Bantu are sweat­ing over the fit­ness of first-choice goal­keeper Lite­boho Mokhesi, who has hardly played in the New Year, but Shale be­lieves the team has enough cover in Kholuoe Pha­sumane. Both keep­ers were part of Likuena in the later stage of the 2015 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers.

“i would have loved to have the two goal­keep­ers avail­able, and hope­fully, Mokhesi is go­ing to re­cover soon.”

File pic­ture: Bantu FC play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter beat­ing LCS to win the 2014 in­de­pen­dence Cup

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