BANTU made a promising start to their CAF Champions League campaign holding Bostwana’s Township Rollers 1 all in their own backyard.
This is A Matšo Matebele’s third appearance in the continental showcase and in their first two appearances they made early exits losing out to AS Mangasport of Gabon in 2015 before they lost to Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini in February this year.
In 2015 Bantu kicked off the tournament away in Gabon and lost 1-0 but were held to a nil all draw in the return fixture at home.
Early this year the Mafeteng outfit started their campaign at home was and was handed a 4-2 loss by Swallows. They went on to give out good fight in the return leg in Mbabane where they won 3-1 only for them to bow out on away goal’s rule after 5-5 stalemate.
The James Madidilane side once again got lucky as they were drawn against a Botswana team this time and I must say this was a fair draw and I believe the two teams have equal chance of advancing to the next stage of the tournament.
Of course, Botswana’s football might be more advanced than ours but they are not too far ahead to be compared to the likes of South Africa and other bigger African countries.
I was lucky to watch the team play Rollers on Tuesday evening and I was impressed with their approach to the match.
Bantu started the match with so much confidence and were compact in defending while waiting to catch their opponents on the break. They also looked dangerous in attack.
It nearly worked for the side as on numerous occasions they came close to scoring and were just let down by poor decision making in the last third.
The match ended in a 1 all draw which was also a fair result playing away from home. This means Bantu have widened their chances of knocking out Rollers in this competition.
I believe the draw will lighten the task for Bantu on Tuesday as it has reduced pressure.
A goalless draw for Bantu will be enough for them to end LDF’s long standing record of being the last team to pass the preliminary stage and advance into the next stage of the tournament since 2001 when they beat Botswana’s Mogoditshane Fighters.
For a long time, local teams have struggled to pass the preliminary round of the tournament but judging from the performance which Bantu gave in Gaborone on Tuesday, they stand a chance of breaking the jinx and qualify for next round.
I know that Rollers won’t be a walk over. This is a team that has made five appearances in the tournament and last season they reached the group stages.
This means they boast immense experience so Bantu have to double their efforts to progress to the next stage.
Also, I think Madidilane will have to work on his charges’ mental strength for them to avoid complacency.