Maseru - Bantu, A Mats’o Matebele, FC had an easy walk on Sunday afternoon when they extended their in the lead Lesotho Vodacom Premier League (LVPL) log pole position with five points after crushing Lioli, Tse Nala FC 2-1 at Setsoto Stadium.
The two teams have good fan base around country and any of their clash always turns into a derby. Sunday’s game was no exception to become another crowd-pooling encounter. The match was delayed by 30 minutes, the reason being a traffic jam to the entrance.
The game was set to kick off at 15:00 but by that time hordes of soccer crazy supporters were coming in. The match started off on a high note, albeit half-an-hour later.
Bantu was fast to go on the safe side when Lits’epe Marabe got them a first lead inside a minute after the referee’s first whistle. That gave Bantu more advantage over Lioli as it was leading the match, and Lioli was under pressure as they really needed to win that game for them to top the log and stop Bantu from increasing the lead gap.
In the 27th minute Jerry Kamela converted a Lioli penalty and that become the consolation goal of the day for Tse Nala even though it didn’t make any difference to their standing on the log or give them any point.
But then inn just six minutes after the interval Bantu’s midfielder Hlompho ‘Stiga’ Kalake was found unmarked a few feet from the penalty box and he did not want to waste that opportunity but to shake the net from that distance to make it 2-1. And that was the winning goal for Bantu and the last goal of the match.
Even though the defending champions Lioli FC is behind with one game, the weekend results and the distance Bantu made is going to put Lioli under pressure for them to regain the league title.
The coaches, Halemakale Mahlaha for Lioli and James Madidilane seemed to have been happy with the play of their first 11 as they did not make any changes until in the 12th minute of the second half when Mahlaha made his first substitute by introducing Lekhanya Lekhanya in replacement of Ts’epo Lekhooana.
Bantu did not respond to that and Lioli again put in Motlalepula Mofolo for Obakeng Modirwa and a few minutes after, Bantu was forced to make their first sub after Tsebang Lebata showed some discomfort and Teboho Lillane was in to take over.
Bantu also introduced in Mokone Marabe from the bench and Maloisane Ramasimong was out. In the last three minutes before the game ended, Lioli made one last change - Junior Maba was in and Motlalepula Mofolo was out, but that did not change their fortunes.
Bantu head coach James Madidilane said he was happy that the team is back on the lead with five points ahead of their second contenders. He also said he was happy that his boys used and applied all the tactics that were discussed and practiced before the game.
Earlier, Madidilane had said for them to be on the safe side in taking the 2016/17 championship they are bound to beat Lioli FC and Kick4life FC. Bantu is now leading with 46 points while Lioli is still at position 2 with 41 points while Kick4life is at 3rd position with 38 points after it lost 3-2 to Linare on Saturday.
On the other hand, the Lioli FC public relations officer Ts’eliso Lerata said they still have hope that Lioli will overcome that gap and take the league again. On Sunday Lioli was out of service of Ts’oanelo Koetle but Lerata said that could not be the reason of their defeat but then said he does not believe it could have been easy for Hlompho to have got that opportunity to score if Koetle was there.
Saturday; Rovers FC 1-3 BB Warriors FC, Linare FC 3-2 Kick4life FC and Matlama FC 1-1 FC Likhopo
Sunday; LCS FC 1-1 LMPS FC, Bantu FC 2-1 Lioli FC, Liphakoe FC 1-0 Sandawana FCand LDF FC 1-0 Sky Battalion FC
Log standings as at 12 March 2017