League champions, Bantu, face wounded FC Likhopo at LCS Ground in the pick of today’s Vodacom Premier League matches.
After a humbling 1-0 defeat to rookies Likila United in their first match of the season last weekend, Likhopo could find themselves at the receiving end once again today against a Bantu side determined to retain the league championship.
A Matšo Matebele, as Bantu are affectionately known, come into today’s match in buoyant mood after a hard-fought 2-1 win over youthful Kick4Life, last Saturday.
However, A Matšo Matebele have a poor record against Likhopo, and out of the 10 league ties the two sides have played since the 2009/10 season, Bantu have only won once, and lost thrice and drawn six times.
Bantu coach, Motlatsi Shale, admits the match against Likhopo would not be easy, particularly since the match would be played in Maseru, not Mafeteng, where A Matšo Matebele are based . Shale is also cognisant of Bantu’s unimpressive record against FC Likhopo.
“They are a very good team with a good coach (Motheo Mohapi), who knows how to motivate his players. You will also be aware that Likhopo have always given us a tough time, and I don’t think it is going to be any different this time around.
“But having said that, I am confident that we will beat them on Sunday and register our second league win against them,” Shale said.
After beating the very impressive Kick4Life last weekend, Shale says his players would be hoping to continue with the fine run and hammer Likhopo in their own backyard today.
“The team struggled a bit in the first match last weekend, as we were coming from a very long holiday (of about four months). However, the boys are now in good shape and that win against Kick4Life was a big motivation for them.
“We have set targets which we have to meet this season, and the players are very much aware of what is expected of them. The league title is one of the honours we have to win this season, which is why it is crucial not to drop points unnecessarily. That is also why you will realise that the players have been working hard to see that we achieve these goals,” said Shale.
However, Likhopo team manager, Qamako Mahao insists his side is ready for Bantu and would not settle for anything other than a win. Following last weekend’s surprise loss to Likila, Mahao says losing is not an option in today’s clash against the league champions.
“We have a very good record against Bantu, and are hoping to continue with this rich history on Sunday. Our boys are determined to right the wrongs of last weekend, and determined to ensure it never happens again.
“We lost focus last weekend, but our coaches have worked hard to ensure such lapse in concentration does not happen again.
“I believe we will come out the better side on Sunday, and the players understand the importance of every match because we need to collect points week-in-and-week-out. Last weekend’s result against Likila was disappointing, to say the least, so we have got to bounce back quickly to placate our fans who were obviously not happy with Saturday’s 1-0 loss,” Mahao said.
In other league matches scheduled for today, Kick4Life host LCS at LCS Ground at 1pm, while Linare will be away to Likila United at Pitso Ground in Butha-Buthe.
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