By: Lilemo Matlotlo
A Matšo Matebele, Bantu Football Club has on last Sunday crowned 2019 Alliance Winter Challenge champions following 1-0 defeat on their rivals Lioli FC (Tse Nala) at Setsoto Stadium.
Tse Nala was the first side to book their spot on the finals of the tournament after walloping Lesotho Correctional Service FC 2-1 on Saturday. Later on, A Matšo Matebele made their intentions clear to join Tse Nala on the finals as they thumped Matlama FC 2-1.
In early minutes of the opening half of the final match Bantu showed an eagerness to break a deadlock by suffocating Lioli FC in their own half, knocking ball around with confidence and creating numerous goal attempts.
A Matšo Matebele kept on piling everlasting pressure on Tse Nala and Hlompho Kalake could have given them a lead in 21st minute after missing a clear chance as he was set by Lehlohonolo Fothoane.
Bantu failed to capitalize in several goal scoring opportunities they created in the first half.
In the opening minutes of the second stanza A Matšo Matebele came out firing once again as Lindokuhle Phungula linked well with Hlompho Kalake who made a world class pass to release Litšepe Marabe whose cracker gave Bantu 1-0 lead.
Afterwards, the momentum of the game dropped with both sides playing long wasted passes.
In the closing minutes of the second half Bantu was enjoying much of the ball possession, making short passes in their own half just to deplete time.
Commenting about the game, Bantu interim coach said he was happy about the results but insisted that his side didn’t play well.
“We didn’t take the game with full force as we normally do. Yes we won, but we didn’t play well. I think our players were tired,” he explained.
When asked if he would like to sign a contract with Bantu FC on the permanent basis following the departure of James Madidilane, he briefly said, “I am still there.”
Meanwhile, Lioli FC head coach, Mr. Thabile Secker admitted the loss and congratulated Bantu for the victory.
He added that the tournament was meant for preparations, so there are no hard feelings for the loss.
Secker explained that he is satisfied on how his players performed, insisting that it was a practice match and he made many changes in order to see individual performance.
He concluded that some of the things did not go well; saying players were eyeing a victory more than enjoying playing football while his intention was to see them playing football more than going for a win.