For the past four seasons, Bantu have been league title contenders against the likes of LCS and Lioli, with the Mafeteng-based outfit emerging winners in 2013/14, while from 2012, they have won Top4 tournament three times (2012,13 and 14) and Top8 championship once last year.
But things don’t seem to be going that well for A Matšo Matebele and the fact that they are sixth on the 14-team premier league table and trailing bitter rivals and log-leaders Lioli by 13 points should be cause for concern for the Mafeteng community and Bantu supporters at large.
Bantu remain almost the same team that won the Top4 in three consecutive years, the league and Top8 titles and management also boosted the squad with the likes of Lebajoa Mosehlenyane and Pheello Sephooana while also promoting Thabo Lesaoana from the juniors. The trio are all attacking midfielders.
Yet the only difference between the current team and the Bantu of 2013/14 is lack of commitment from the players.
Rumors have been doing the rounds for a long time now that the team is divided into two camps, with other players supporting technical director Lehlohonolo Seema while others don’t see eye-to-eye with the former national team, Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic captain.
After their 1-0 league win against Likhopo at LCS Ground last weekend, Seema was involved in a bitter exchange with the team’s Congolese midfielder Nzenze Nkulu in what club president Leuta Leuta said was “nothing personal but a disagreement in the heat of the moment”.
Leuta is the leader of Bantu and it is his job to protect the image of the team, which he has done admirably well over the years.
There is no doubt Seema has played a big role in making Bantu the force and household name they have become as their technical advisor because here we are talking about one of Lesotho’s greatest footballers of all time.
Yet with all due respect to Seema, I think he was better-off when he was involved behind the scenes, so to speak, and not what he is doing now when he has virtually become the team’s coach.
Why I am saying this is because once the team loses that unity they used to have when they were the team to beat in Lesotho, then surely Bantu are going to start that slow but painful slid to the doldrums.
I always used to say Bantu’s strongest point was their unity because when it comes to the quality of players, they don’t have it in abundance the way Lioli do, for instance.
Bantu management had been in denial for far too long as far as this disharmony about Seema is concerned, but you cannot continue covering up the obvious.
The other thing that could cost Bantu dearly is the constant change of coaches.
Katiso Mojakhomo replaced Motlatsi Shale at the start of the season but he was also shown the door just three months after his appointment, leaving Mosito Matela and Caswell Moru in charge.
The duo was later replaced by Shale, but at the start of the second round, Shale was fired and replaced by Bafokeng Mohapi, with Moru being appointed his assistant.
Just a fortnight ago Moru was removed as Mohapi’s assistant and Matela appointed to that position.
That, in itself, tells you there is something not right at Bantu because such chopping and changing of coaches is not normal and does not happen at a stable club.
For the sake of Lesotho football, my plea to Bantu management is they should sit down and do some serious introspection if they are to find a lasting solution to their problems.
However, they first have to be honest with themselves and admit the wheels are coming off their once-reliable and efficient wagon.