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Players’ return boosts Bantu’s title chances

Moorosi Tsiane

ECONET Premier League pace setters, Bantu, have been handed a major boost ahead of the imminent return of premiership action with the recovery of four of its midfielders.
Lindokuhle Phungulwa, Tšoanelo Koetle and Tau Masiu were all nursing injuries prior to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) induced break in March 2020. They were also joined on the injury list by attacker Tšepang Sefali but coach Bob Mafoso says the quartet is now ready for action.

Phungulwa is yet to play competitive soccer this season due to a knee injury that he suffered during the pre-season. Koetle picked up a head injury in February 2020 while Masiu had a recurrent knee injury.

Sefali has just recovered from a cracked shoulder.

The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) is already in discussions with the government exploring ways of resuming soccer action and the body recently expressed confidence that it would soon be given the green light to resume.

Popularly known as A Matšo Matebele, Bantu have led from the beginning and they have a healthy 16-point lead over second-placed Matlama.

Mafoso’s side needs just three wins from the remaining eight matches and the return of the quartet would be a major boost for the Mafeteng side.

The gaffer said while the Covid-19 pandemic had numerous negative effects on his side, there was a silver lining in the recovery of the injured players.
“Shortly before the break, our all three defending midfielders were injured and this break gave them time to recover,” Mafoso said.

“Lindokuhle had started light training just before the break, Sefali had started playing although he had not fully recovered. Koetle was also supposed to start to start training the same week the league was suspended while Masiu needed at least three weeks to recover. The break therefore gave them time to rest and recover without any pressure.”

He however, said the players’ full fitness would be determined by how they fare in competitive matches.

“Of course, they have healed but we must still have to test them in competitive matches to ensure that they have fully recovered. They must be assessed in competitive matches.”
The break also afforded the rest of the team a chance to rest. He said in the last three seasons, most of the players have failed to get adequate time to rest as most of them were part of the national team.”

“In pre-season they played COSAFA and often travelled with the national team for different assignments… we know some may have lost their form during the break but at least they will be fresh and can easily pick their form,” Mafoso said.

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