MASERU – Swallows will be looking to halt Bantu’s superb run of form when they host the Mafeteng side in Mazenod this afternoon.
The teams go into today’s match undergoing contrasting fortunes.
Coming into the weekend’s fixtures, Swallows were on a two-match losing streak, while Bantu were enjoying a four-match winning run. Swallows are 10th, while Bantu are fourth on the Premiership table.
However, Swallows captain Joele Letsoela believes today’s tie presents Maswai-swai with a perfect opportunity to avenge their 2-3 loss suffered in Mafeteng last month.
“We lost 2-3 in Mafeteng (on January 9); in that match, they scored three goals in the first twenty minutes, but we came back and scored twice. This time, I’m confident we can get a win,” Letsoela told the Sunday Express.
“We have seen their strengths. They are a new team to the league, so (last time) we only knew individual players but didn’t know what to expect from them as a team. But we know in the midfield, they have Chico (Tefo Maipato) and he will spread those passes out wide and they will come in as crosses. They killed us from set-pieces; he (Maipato) scored twice in that match,” Letsoela said.
Bantu have a good record on the road— winning four of the eight matches away from Mafeteng, conceding just five goals. Swallows have a decent home record themselves, having won their last three matches.
There has just been a dip in form because of common problems associated with community clubs.
“We have a problem in the team. We have players who are still at school, so they have been unavailable. There has also been poor communication from the management. The match we lost 5-0 to LCS (November 8), we had thought the game was going to be on a Saturday but it was Sunday because management had not given us the correct information on time,” Letsoela said.
The side has recently lost the services of key-player, Mohau Khali who has joined Matlama. But Letsoela believes there are adequate replacements and that Swallows—who were tipped to struggle after only finishing five points above the relegation zone, last season— would end among the top eight, this term.
“It (Khali’s departure) has affected the team but as you know, Mazenod is an academy. Of course, we can’t fill the gap but there are a lot of talented players here,” Letsoela said.
“When the season ends, we want to find ourselves in the Top Eight. When you look at our fixtures, we are starting with big teams— LDF, Matlama, Lioli. If we can absorb the pressure of these games, then I believe we can finish in a good position at the end of the season,” Letsoela said.
The situation will be almost similar when Linare host Matlama in Hlotse today. The two sides share eleven championships between them but in recent years, their fortunes have been chalk-and-cheese; indeed, Linare are closer to the relegation zone than the summit.
Linare vs Matlama (Hlotse); Mphatlalatsane vs Likhopo (St Monicas); Butha-Buthe Roses vs Lioli (Butha-Buthe); Nyenye Rovers vs Lerotholi Polytechnic (Maputsoe); Joy vs LDF (Sebothoane); LCS vs Majantja (Central Prisons)
Swallows vs Bantu (Mazenod); LMPS vs Rovers (Old Europa).