BANTU coach, James Madidilane, has challenged his charges to perform well on the continental stage, saying it is time Lesotho teams broke the jinx of early exits from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
A Matso Matebele are the reigning premier league champions and they were recently drawn against Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland. The first leg will be played at Setsoto Stadium on 11 February 2018 and the return leg will be played in the Swaziland, capital, Mbabane a week later.
Bantu’s maiden dance in the continental showpiece under the mentorship of the late Motlatsi Shale ended in an aggregate 0-1 loss to Gabonese outfit, AS Mangasport two years ago.
The last time a local team went beyond group stages was in 2002 when LDF beat Mogoditshane Fighters of Botswana.
And Madidilane, a former South African international, recently welcomed the draw, saying this was a good opportunity for Bantu to exorcise the ghost of early exits which has haunted local teams.
“It is a fair draw for us instead of getting the likes of Al Ahly and TP Mazembe so I think we can do better,” Madidilane said, adding, “This is a chance for us to change things and I believe with right preparations we can do that”.
“Our target is to go beyond the first stage and we know it is not going to be easy as it going to take a lot of commitment from everyone involved.”
“Their (Mbabane Swallows) standard of football is not that different from ours but we will not undermine them because they are obviously a good team. The fact that they won their league means they worked hard and so we have to respect them.”
He said they had played some preparatory matches against South African premier league clubs, adding that now that they knew their opponents, preparations would begin in earnest after the Christmas break.
Madidilane further said that a good result at home would save them undue pressure in the return fixture.
“We are starting at home and we just need to avoid conceding to save ourselves the pressure in the return fixture.
The winner of the encounter shall meet the winner of the match between Zanaco (Zambia) and Gambia A.F (Gambia).