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Madidilane predicts tough finish

Moorosi Tsiane

BANTU coach, James Madidilane, says he anticipates that his side’s remaining eight matches would be the toughest beginning with the Econet League match against relegation-threatened Likhopo at Maputsoe DIFA Ground tomorrow.

The defending champions have been rocked by the player registration scandal for the past three months after Likhopo, Matlama and Lioli protested over the use of four more than the five stipulated foreign players in the league.

Likhopo and Matlama’s complaints were however, thrown out after they failed to produce ample evidence to support their claims.

Lioli, on the other hand, managed to give out corroborating evidence to the Disciplinary and Protest Committee (DISPROCO) and were subsequently awarded three points and three goals for the match that was played in December last year.

Bantu appealed the judgement but went on to lose the appeal and were directed to de-register the players namely Itumeleng Faleni, Pheko Molaoa, Phumoha Matsipa and their number one goalkeeper, Thabo Sedisa.

Madidilane said this would a tough time where his coaching credentials would be put to test as he needs to ensure his charges stay focused.

The Mafeteng outfit lead the 13-team league table with 36 points while second placed Lioli are four points adrift.

However, Bantu also have a game in hand.

“These are not easy times for us and it is that time where as a coach I need to show my abilities to ensure that the boys stay focused,” Madidilane said.

“We have still managed to assemble a good squad without the de-registered players and I believe we can defend the league title. We just have to remain focused in these eight matches left.”

The former South Africa international said the whole episode has affected the team but they have been working hard to improve their players’ psychological state.

He said they anticipate a tough match against a young side that is yearning to prove themselves and also survive relegation hence they would double their efforts.

For his part, Likhopo coach, Halemakale Mahlaha, said this would also be their toughest encounter as Bantu come wounded.

“Look, there is no doubt that they are coming as the wounded side following this scandal. Remember we are the ones who started it, but they will find us ready for them,” Mahlaha said.

He said they are desperate for points as they are not sitting at a safe position on the log table.

“We are not safe and we need to make sure that we collect points in all our matches left, Bantu are a good side and this match is going to be very tough,” he said.

Mahlaha however, said he was worried that they did not really have enough time to prepare.

“We have failed to prepare adequately because of wet weather so we only started with body conditioning this week.”

To compound their problems, Mahlaha’s side would be depleted after two of their players, James Mothotjeloa and Katleho Mochobi have gone AWOL.

In other League matches to be played today, LMPS host Matlama at PTC Ground, Sky Battalion host Lioli at LCS Ground while Kick4Life travel to Ratjomose to face LDF.

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