Bantu faces acid test

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Mikia Kalati

Bantu cap­tain tlali Maile has sounded the battle cry ahead of a do-or-die african Cham­pi­ons League clash against as­so­ci­a­tion Sportive Man­gas­port of Gabon on Sun­day.

The Mafeteng out­fit face Man­gas­port in the pre­lim­i­nary round, first leg clash of the con­ti­nen­tal show­piece in Li­bre­ville and Maile in­sists A Matšo Mate­bele have enough qual­ity to pre­vail over the Gabonese cham­pi­ons.

With the re­turn leg of the match tak­ing place on 1 March at Set­soto Sta­dium, Maile be­lieves a good show in Gabon would add to the play­ers’ con­fi­dence. The Bantu con­tin­gent left for Gabon yes­ter­day and is ex­pected back home on Mon­day next week.

“We have a team blessed with ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and I think we have the mus­cle and tal­ent to be the first Le­sotho team to make it past the pre­lim­i­nary stage of the Cham­pi­ons League com­pe­ti­tion,” Maile said on Mon­day this week.

“this is our chance to re­write the his­tory books and suc­ceed where many of our teams have failed.”

the diminu­tive de­fender fur­ther said Bantu had shown “mas­sive im­prove­ment” this year, win­ning all their four league matches, as well as the LNIG top8 quar­ter­fi­nal match in which they mas­sa­cred Qoal­ing High­landers 8-0.

It is this im­pres­sive run and “high spirit” in camp that gives Maile the con­fi­dence Bantu cer­tainly need as they em­bark on a rough jour­ney only the fittest can sur­vive.

“We have im­proved a lot since the turn of the new Year, which makes me this op­ti­mistic that we will break the jinx which has dogged our teams on the in­ter­na­tional stage for so long. We are ready for Man­gas­port; the boys are look­ing for­ward to prov­ing their worth and show their class.

“this is our mo­ment and I think ev­ery­one in the team wants to be re­mem­bered for help­ing Bantu make it past the pre­lim­i­nary stage of this com­pe­ti­tion.

“Our level of fit­ness has im­proved a lot since we played friendly games against South african sides, Bloem­fontein Celtic and Free State Stars. Los­ing those matches was some­how a wake-up call for us,” he said.

Bantu would also be boosted by the goalscor­ing form of star-striker Litšepe Marabe.

the tal­ented for­ward has scored 14 goals in 16 games, and al­ready sur­passed last sea­son’s top scorer, tse­bang Le­bata, who had 13.

“He is in good goal-scor­ing form, which is a bonus to the team, and the fact that he also has in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence will help us in the Cham­pi­ons League. again, we will need all our se­nior play­ers to come to lead by ex­am­ple and guide those who have never played at this level,” Maile said.

Bantu play­ers go through their paces ahead of their de­par­ture for Gabon on tues­day.

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