. . . as Bantu, Matlama face touring Free State Stars
TOURING South African premier league side, Free State Stars, is set to face off with Matlama and Bantu respectively, in friendly matches at Setsoto Stadium this afternoon.
The matches are part of the teams’ preparations for upcoming fixtures with Bantu set to foray into the 2015 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League competition in a first leg encounter with Gabonese side Mangasport on 17 February 2015.
The return fixture is scheduled for Setsoto Stadium a fortnight later.
Free State Stars, on the other hand, is looking to prepare for the start of South Africa’s Absa Premiership second round next month.
Bantu Communications and Marketing Manager, Bokang Phasumane, said the match against Free State Stars would be a good opportunity to assess the team’s preparedness for the continental tournament.
“Each and every match against these South African teams is very important for us as they offer something different from what we get from the local clubs,” Phasumane said.
“We lost to Bloemfontein Celtic last week and had a chance to get things right against Free State Stars.”
Phasumane said they intend to play one last international friendly match before they head to Gabon early next month.
“We have been talking to a number of clubs to arrange international friendly matches because we believe they will be very helpful in our continental journey,” he said.
“Our players are very focused and want to make amends after losing dismally to Celtic last Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Free State Stars public relations officer, Lebohang Maketa, told the Sunday Express the trip to Lesotho was also important for their team ahead of their relegation fight in the Absa Premiership.
“We did not play very well in the first round of our league and these friendly matches are very crucial in our preparations to ensure we get things right when the second round gets underway,” Maketa said.
“The coaches know the importance of these friendly matches and we brought our best players to try and get the right combinations.
“There are also some players who have been promoted from our development teams and will be given a chance to prove what they can offer at a bigger stage.”
Matlama will play the first match at 1pm while Bantu will play Free State Stars in the final match at 4pm.