What an ex­cit­ing fi­nal!

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

Sun­day’s LNIG Top8 fi­nal be­tween Bantu and Mat­lama was a thriller and re­ally lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions.

Although Mat­lama scored an early goal through Mabuti Pot­loane, Mokone Marabe’s equaliser also in the first half, set the tone for a re­mark­able come­back, with the match end­ing 3-2 in favour of A Matšo Mate­bele.

The de­feat must have been a bit­ter pill to swallow for Mat­lama, as the Sea Point out­fit lost the In­de­pen­dence Cup to an­other bit­ter ri­val, Li­oli, about five months ago.

But what I liked about Sun­day’s tie was it gave us goals galore, as well as beau­ti­ful foot­ball through­out the en­tire 90 min­utes.

Bantu showed their hunger for suc­cess from Satur­day’s semi-fi­nal, in which they beat Likhopo 3-0.

The same de­ter­mi­na­tion was there again in the fi­nal, hence their de­served and com­fort­able win against one of their main ri­vals.

Bantu were very or­gan­ised in all de­part­ments and main­tained their regular de­fence which has been serv­ing them so well of late.

How­ever, their in­spi­ra­tional cap­tain, Tlali Maile, de­serves spe­cial men­tion as he led by ex­am­ple, which he has done on so many oc­ca­sions for the Mafeteng-based pre­mier league gi­ants.

Maile is a true pro­fes­sional who is very dis­ci­plined, hum­ble and al­ways gives his all for the team.

Mat­lama, on the other hand, fielded a changed back-four on Sun­day as Lisema Lebokol­lane, who was a hold­ing mid­fielder in Satur­day’s 9-8 penalty-shootout semi-fi­nal win against LCS, was switched to right back.

This tin­ker­ing proved to be Mat­lama’s un­do­ing, as Bantu took ad­van­tage of the team’s lack of co­or­di­na­tion to come from a goal down and claim the M100 000 win­ners’ prize.

This was a costly gam­ble for Mat­lama as you don’t ex­per­i­ment when fac­ing an at­tack­ing ma­chine such as Bantu, which boasts of the league’s top-scorer, Litšepe Marabe, as well as La­zola Tjokotjokoane, who was the tour­na­ment’s top hit­man with four goals.

All in all, I think it was a good week­end of great foot­ball and credit should go to all the four teams that en­ter­tained us from Satur­day.

Talk­ing of our in-form play­ers, I was a bit sur­prised with some of the play­ers who have been called into the na­tional team to play friendly matches against Botswana and pos­si­bly Zim­babwe. And one of those play­ers is vet­eran mid­fielder, Bushy Mo­let­sane, who only re­turned to ac­tion re­cently fol­low­ing a lengthy in­jury lay­off.

Mo­let­sane has served this coun­try with distinc­tion, but like ev­ery other player, he must fight for his place in the na­tional team and should never be picked on rep­u­ta­tion.

The same goes for Mohau Kue­nane, who

has also strug­gled to hold his po­si­tion as Li­oli’s first-choice goal­keeper.

I also feel the coaches should have used th­ese friendlies and the up­com­ing Cosafa tour­na­ment to build a team for the fu­ture, and by this, I mean call­ing up young­sters and not play­ers in their mid-30s.

I know re-build­ing a team takes a long time, but the coaches must learn from LCS who have parted ways with many of their stars who were lack­ing dis­ci­pline and groomed young­sters such as Thabo Seakhoa. Seakhoa has been out­stand­ing for LCS, and has been scor­ing reg­u­larly for his side.

I’m also sur­prised that the young striker has not been named in the na­tional squad de­spite do­ing ex­tremely well since ar­riv­ing at Mashesh­ena last sea­son.

With the African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (CHAN) com­ing up later this year, the coaches should have looked at such young­sters and many oth­ers from the na­tional-un­der 20, which did so well in con­ti­nen­tal qual­i­fiers last year.

The Cosafa tour­na­ment is about giv­ing young­sters the chance to have that much-needed in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure and hope­fully, the coaches will have a re-think be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion gets un­der­way in May in South Africa.

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