Double delight at Setsoto
. . . as Bantu and Matlama face SA first division side United FC
Football fans will be treated to a double treat at Setsoto stadium when the country’s big guns, Bantu and Matlama, take on South African First Division side United FC, in pre-season friendlies this afternoon.
The Pretoria-based United are coached by former Likuena mentor, Leslie Notši, and just like Lesotho Premier League champions Bantu, and nine-time league champions Matlama, would be using the friendly matches as part of preparations for the 2014/15 football seasons.
Notši, who joined United soon after leaving Likuena in January this year and took the team to a seventh-place finish on the 16-team A Division log, said the importance of the friendlies could not be over-emphasised. United arrived in the country on Friday, and first play Matlama at 1pm and then Bantu at 3pm, in what promises to be a good afternoon of football action.
“The two matches we are going to play on Sunday are very important to us as we prepare for the new season. It is also important to mention that we have a relatively new squad, as we have parted ways with over twelve players who were part of our club in the last campaign,” Notši said.
“We now have a squad of young players who are mostly in their early 20s, so these friendlies will help them get a bit of experience going into the 2014/15 season, in which we hope to do well and possibly gain promotion to the Premier League.”
Notši said today’s trip was also inspired by the growth of Lesotho football over recent months, and also to build relationships with clubs based in southern Africa.
“Football has continued to grow in Lesotho and I’m confident playing against these two teams will help in our preparations for the new campaign,” said Notši.
Bantu captain, Tlali Maile, said the today’s match against United, which comes hard-on-the-heels of a similar tie against South African Premier League side Free State Stars last weekend, would
be more than just a friendly fixture.
“I must say, these matches have been very helpful, more especially because these teams play in more advanced leagues.
“I believe it will be the same story against United on Sunday, where the game would be very competitive,” Maile said.
“As Premier League champions, we are not only preparing to defend our title, but also to be extremely competitive when we take part in the African Champions League next year.
“That’s why we are not taking these matches lightly, and why I also call upon the fans to come in their numbers to watch these games,” he said.
Maile also said he was happy with the team’s performance against Free State Stars, after the match ended one-all.
“I think we did fairly well in the match against Free State Stars and we should continue from where we left off,” said Maile.
“We have been doing a lot of hard work to improve our physical condition, through going for gym sessions at the Lehakoe Club. In the African Champions League, we will obviously be playing against very tough and physical sides, so it is important that we are fit both physically and mentally, if we are to make progress in the competition.”
Bantu begin their title defence against the newly promoted Kick4Life, and Maile said it was important to start the season with a comprehensive win.
“A good win will set the tone for the season for us, which is why the match against Kick4Life is a must-win for us.”