Bantu struggles in opener
DEBUTANT Neo Mokhachane was the hero yesterday scoring a late equaliser to secure a point for the defending Econet Premier League champions, Bantu, after they had been kept a bay by Sefotha-fotha at Ratjomose Ground yesterday.
The Mabote outfit gave Bantu a run for their money attacking from all angles in the first stanza of the match.
The minnows enjoyed the upper hand creating numerous goal scoring opportunities but was however, let down by poor decision making.
Mohau Mothibeli broke the deadlock on a 36th minute after the Bantu backline failed to clear its lines.
Bantu shortly made their first substitute introducing Thabo Lesaoana for a struggling Ntoane Mohajane four minutes before the break.
The match went to the break with Sefotha-fotha still in lead.
Sefotha-fotha sat back in the second half giving Bantu much time on the ball and allowed them to attack.
A Matšo Matebele came close to leveling the matters on 53 minutes were unfortunate to see Hlompho Kalake’s shot from a Mokone Marabe lay off narrowly missed the target.
Bantu who were increasingly desperate for an equaliser made their second substitute introducing striker Lazola Tjokotjokwana for attacking midfielder Mokone Marabe nine minutes after the break.
Sefotha-fotha kept sitting back with all 11 players defending but were caught napping on the 57th minute when Litšepe Marabe’s defence splitting pass found Tjokotjokwana with only the goalkeeper to beat but he missed the target.
Sehene-hene, as Sefotha-fotha are affectionately known, came close to extending their lead on the hour mark with a free header from Relebohile Mosebo aiming for the far post but the Bantu goalkeeper, Fusi Ranone, saved the day for the reigning champions.
Bantu kept pressing for goal and came close but were on numerous occasions let down by poor finishing.
Striker Tsietsi Motšeare was taken off for Tsebang Lebata on the 72nd minute to wrap up Bantu’s changes for the day.
Sefotha-fotha made a double substitute on the 80th minute with the duo of Lehlohonolo Thamahane and Tšepo Mokherane coming in for Motlalepula Nqaba and Moalosi Makhetha.
Sefotha-fotha were just five minutes away from the win but Mokhachane broke their hearts with a tap in from a Litšepe pass which found him unmarked inside the penalty area.
Bantu coach James Madidilane said he was disappointed but also said the point was important for his side.
“We were poor in the first half and Sefotha-fotha came here with a plan and were always there collecting every ball,” Madidilane said.
“My players were flat and most of the time reacted instead of being offensive. However, this was the first match of the season so we will have to be happy with the point. I think it is better to draw than to lose the match.”
On his part, Sefotha-fotha coach, Bafokeng Mohapi, said he was happy with how his charges played adding that they would build from yesterday’s performance.
“I am happy with how we played because we execute our game plan by creating many chances but unfortunately failed to convert as many as we would have wanted.
“I think it was just a lapse in concentration which cost us the goal in the dying minutes of the match,” Mohapi said.
Elsewhere, a goal apiece from Bonang Mohapi and debutant Tšeliso Botsane were enough to help Kick4Life edge Lioli 2-1 in Maputsoe.
LDF also edged Majantja 1-0 in the last of the double header at Ratjomose Ground.