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Giants Matlama, Bantu clash in do-or-die tie

Mikia Kalati

MASERU — Bantu Football Club will take on Matlama in a Vodacom premier league tie at Setsoto Stadium that could decide the destiny of this year’s league championship. Bantu currently lie in second place on the log, three points behind Lioli. Bantu skipper, Tlali Maile, told the Sunday Express the game against Matlama will be a do-or-die tie for them as failure to get the three points would end their hopes for a first league title since the club’s establishment in 1921.

“We have to rise from our lacklustre performance of the last two games where we lost to LDF and LCS,” Maile said. “This is the most important and crucial game of our season as a win here will revive our chances of winning the league trophy at the end of the campaign.” The Mafeteng side trail Lioli by three points while the Teyateyaneng-based side also enjoy a better goal difference.

“Every player in the team knows the importance of today’s tie against Matlama and that we need to win the match and score as many goals as we can,” said Maile. We are determined to make up for our blunders in the last two matches.” The Bantu skipper said their team will be boosted by the return of the attacking duo of Dlomo Monaphathi and their top goal scorer Litšepe Marabe.
The two players missed last Sunday’s 0-2 loss to LCS due to injuries.

The team will also welcome the services of playmaker Pali Tšalong whose move from Linare to Bantu in the January transfer window has caused controversy. They will miss fullback Thapelo Mokhehle who was red carded against the correctional side.
Teams such as Lioli had lodged a protest against the registration of the player saying it was completed after the transfer window had been closed. Tse Putsoa, as the Sea Point based side are affectionately known, head into this match with their confidence high after a hard fought 3-2 win over Highlanders on Wednesday.

Matlama communications and marketing manager, Lesolle Phalatsi, said his side will fight for the three points that are at stake against Bantu. “Just like Wednesday’s match against Qoaling Highlanders, for us it is about the points at stake,” Phalatsi said. I can tell you that this match is going to be a showdown, it is the only match of the weekend and everyone will be here to witness us embarrass them.”

He told this paper that a good performance in this match will reassure Matlama supporters that their team remains a formidable force among the premier league teams’ big guns. Bantu were given all the three points of the first round match between the two teams after Matlama failed to produce the playing cards of their players. “We at Matlama feel that matches should be decided in the field of play and we are still confident the first round match will take place,” said Phalatsi.

“I call on the football fraternity to come in numbers and see Matlama at its best. This will be the stage for us to cause an embarrassment to Bantu,” he said.

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