By: Lilemo Matlotlo
Bantu Football Club is currently sitting at the top of Econet Premier League standings with nineteen points after played seven games.
Bantu won six games and drew only one.
Meanwhile the reigning champions, Matlama FC are on position two, secured fourteen points in seven games played. Matlama lost one game, drew one game and won five games.
In the clash with Matlama, “A Mats’o Matebele” as Bantu known came out with guns blazing in the early stage of the game on Saturday at Setsoto stadium in Maseru.
As a result, Litšepe Marabe gave Bantu an early lead in 9th minute of a play, as he placed it in, after Hlompho Kalake released him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Thereafter, Tse Putsoa (Matlama FC) fought back as Jane Thabantšo came close to equalize following Phafa Tšosane square pass but his strike was cleared away by Bantu’s goalkeeper, Ntsane Lichaba.
In half an hour mark of a play, Kalake who won a ball from Matlama’s defence missed a clear chance to double a lead for Bantu; Matlama’s shot-stopper, Monaheng Ramalefane denied him from a close range.
Lazola Jokojokwane nearly extended Bantu’s lead in dying minutes of the opening half as he ran through the defenders but Ramalefane tipped his shot over the crossbar.
In the start of the second half, it was Matlama’s turn as the home side was enjoying much time on the ball.
Tse Putsoa leveled matters in the 10th minute of the second half through Jane Thabants’o who converted from penalty kick as Tsietsi Khooa made a hand ball in the eighteen area.
Thereafter, both sides made numerous goal scoring attempts, however neither side took a lead over the other as they were both solid at the back.
After the game, Matlama head coach Mr. Charles Banda admitted that Bantu was dominating the game in the first half.
He however indicated that the overall performance of the both sides was fair, adding that his side took a game from Bantu on the second half and got an equalizer.
Banda went on to say that he played Mabuti Potloane as a striker in order to match the quality of the defenders Bantu has.
“Mabuti can go from every bone. He is intelligent and experienced player. So we put Mabuti to match the quality of Bantu defenders”, he said.
Meanwhile Bantu head coach Mr. Bob Mafoso explained that Matlama was enjoying much time on the ball but his side was dangerous on count attacks hence they got early goal.
He added that the style of a play changed in the second half with Matlama playing transition football while his team did not have much time on the ball.
Mafoso went on to say about four or five of his players were not playing their normal football and that led to the whole team failing to handle Matlama’s attacking sides.
“We were a bit better on ball possession in the second half, though about four or five of our players were unlike them.
“We failed to deal with them (Matlama) on their attacking sides. These games were too many; out of possible 12 points, we got 10, that is not bad.
“We got a point today, we did not lost maximum points though we failed to perform well,” concluded Mafoso.
The game ended 1-1 all.