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Clash of the Titans in King’s Cup spectacular

Mikia Kalati

MASERU — Newly appointed Bantu coach, Motlatsi Shale, faces an acid test this afternoon when his side take on Matlama in a pre-season King’s Cup tournament at Setsoto Stadium. The country’s big guns will clash in a tournament that has been organised to celebrate King Letsie III’s 50th birthday. The tournament will also see reigning Vodacom league champions, Lioli, squaring off against rivals Linare while Matlama will take on Bantu in the second game.

The two winners will then meet in the final later in the afternoon. Bantu got their pre-season off to a great start when they dispatched Free State giants, Bloemfontein Celtic, 4-2 on Thursday. Bantu’s public relations officer, Bokang Phasumane, told the Sunday Express that the win over Celtic showed their intentions to be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.

“It was a good start for our new coach and the players,” Phasumane said. “The players were motivated, with each one of them motivated to show their new coach what they can do on a good day.” Bantu’s four goals came from lanky striker, Dlomo Monaphathi, playmaker Mosiuoa Boseka, Jeremia Lelia and Tanki Makhele. “This tournament is played in honour of our King’s 50th birthday and winning it will mean a lot to all those involved with our team,” said Phasumane.

Linare coach, Thulo “Magic Touch” Leboela, told this paper that although many people might see today’s match as just a pre-season tie they were taking the matches seriously. “Linare is a big team and every game is always important to us,” Leboela said. The legendary former Linare midfield maestro said his team has a number of new players that will be registered with the team in the new season.

The Hlotse-based side has gone over three decades without a league title. Leboela however said he feels the team is now ready to challenge for silverware in the new season. Linare will be without the services of captain, Mabuti Potloane, who is on national duty with Likuena at the regional Cosafa tournament which began yesterday in Zambia. However, Leboela feels his team has a bigger pool even without their skipper, who has been their best player for the last two seasons.

The tournament will also see all four clubs unveiling their new acquisitions for the new season. Former Likhopo and Bantu midfield maestro, Tefo “Chigo” Maipato, is among players training with Tse Putsoa and is poised to don the blue and white of Matlama when the season gets underway. The match will also help Matlama prepare for next Sunday’s tie against South African giants, Orlando Pirates, which also forms part of the celebrations for His Majesty King Letsie III’s 50th birthday.
Tse Putsoa are without skipper Nkau Lerotholi who is also away on national duty while Lioli will miss seven of their key players who helped the team to their league success last season.

King’s Cup soccer spectacular fixtures:

Lioli vs Linare
Matlama vs Bantu

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