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Bantu, Lioli clash in ESS final

Moorosi Tsiane

BRAGGING rights will be at stake this afternoon when the country’s fiercest rivals, Bantu and Lioli clash in the final of the Econet Soccer Spectacular (ESS) at Setsoto Stadium.

The winners of the tournament will pocket M100 000 while the first runners-up will take home M50 000. The third and fourth placed teams will each pocket M25 000.

Lioli were first to book a spot in the final cruising 3-0 over helpless LDF courtesy of a Swirtbirth Kum brace and Tsietsi Motšeare lone goal.

In the second semifinal, Bantu were just too good for Linare dismissing them 3-1. Bantu’s goals came from Lindokuhle Phungulwa, Thabo Lesaoana and Litšepe Marabe while Linare’s consolation goal came from a penalty by Jerry Kamela.

A Matšo Matebele will be hoping to make it a double over Lioli in 14 days after they beat the Teyateyaneng outfit in the Alliance Winter Challenge a fortnight ago.

Tse Nala on the other hand will be hoping for revenge against their hoodoo team.

Lioli coach Thabile Secker said he was impressed with his charges’ performance and said they are looking forward to the final. He said he was happy with the progress made by his new signings as they have settled well.

“We have improved compared to our previous matches and I am happy that the team played the way I wanted it to play,” Secker said.

“The new players are now gelling with the senior players and that is what we were expecting to see.”

He said while they would love to win the match today, they would concentrate more on preparing their team for the league season.

“It’s still preseason and it’s important for us to balance the team as we prepare for the league season which starts soon.

“Of course, we still want to win the competition but that is not the real focus at the moment. What is important is for us to be ready for the league,” he said.

Bantu coach Bob Mafoso also praised his charges for their performance.

“Today we used a very different team from the one which played the Alliance Winter Challenge and the most positive thing is that we scored many goals today. The goals all came from situations that we have discussed.

“We struggled a bit in the first half maybe because the team we were using lacked match fitness as some of our players are in the national team.

“This is a preseason tournament and we are giving all our players a chance to prove themselves, so we will be using different players tomorrow (today).”

Mafoso said Bantu was focused on winning all their matches be they friendlies or competitive ties.

“It is all about winning whether it is a friendly or a competitive match. That is what we have to give to our supporters. However, we need to rest the players because we played with a high intensity match.

“The other challenge is that we are playing these two matches in 24 hours, so we need to rest and hopefully, will play quality football tomorrow,” Mafoso said.

LDF face Linare in losers final in the first match of the double header at Setsoto Stadium.

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