THE recently crowned LNIG Top8 champions, LDF, say they are aware of the danger that Bantu can pose when they clash this afternoon in an Econet Premier League tie at Setsoto Stadium.
The two teams will be meeting for the third time within a month. They first met in the MGC spectacular quarterfinals where Bantu won 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 stalemate. They also shared spoils in last weekend’s Top8 semifinals before Bantu lost 6-7 on penalties.
LDF eventually went all the way beating LCS 2-1 in the final on Sunday to be crowned the LNIG Top8 champions.
In the process, the Army side ended its 11-year-long trophy drought since winning the Buddie Top4 in 2008.
Sohle-Sohle coach Motheo Mohapi told the Sunday Express that they are now past the Top8 victory celebrations and it’s now back to business.
“We are happy that we won a trophy after such a long time but that doesn’t have to get into our heads,” Mohapi said.
“We have no reason to be carried away, so we are over that win and now we have shifted our focus to the league.
“We are playing a very good team regardless of last weekend’s result and we know beating them will never be easy but the boys are ready for the job. The spirit is high in the camp.”
The former Likuena midfielder said their target is to play for a top four finish now that league title is out of their reach.
LDF are fifth with 34 points jointly with Lioli who are fourth due to a superior goal difference. Both teams have played 21 matches.
“The league title is already out of our reach but our target now is to finish among the top four teams when the league ends next month.
“Everyone is working hard in the team. This match is so important that we approach it with clear minds. Bantu will come better prepared than last weekend, so we have to be ready,” Mohapi said.
For his part, Bantu coach James Madidilane said the match is not about exerting revenge on LDF but more about fighting to finish the league in a respectable position.
“We lost in the Top8 and we are over that. Now, our focus is back to the league matches where we are also aiming to close the gap between us and the two teams above us.
“This is not a cup match and it will be a different ball game altogether on Sunday (today). We need a win more than our opponents, so we will have to double our efforts,” said Madidilane.
Madidilane said the team which will be better prepared today will win as it is going to be a tough encounter.
“Every time we play LDF, it is never an easy match, so we are expecting a tough encounter and I believe that the team which would have prepared better on the day and takes its chances, will win the match. We need this win and we are going to work for it.”
Although the gaffer refused to take it as an excuse for their loss last weekend, Bantu will welcome their influential midfielder Litšepe Marabe, who was out on suspension.
“I don’t want to make excuses that we lost because Litšepe was not around but he is one player whom I know can make things happen for us. But we lost because we failed to play as a team, we were poor but we have worked on that and the players have responded well,” Madidilane said.
In other league matches today, Kick4Life host LMPS at LCS Ground while Lioli will be away to Sefotha-fotha at PTC Ground.