LAST Sunday, the reigning premier league champions, Bantu, suffered a morale-sapping 2-4 loss at home at the hands of their Swazi counterparts, Mbabane Swallows, in the first leg of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions League match.
The Mafeteng outfit now have a tall order on Wednesday in Mbabane, Swaziland where they need to score at least three goals without reply to advance to the next stage of this continental showpiece.
I must say that I was really disappointed by Bantu’s performance on Sunday and scores of Basotho who filled up Setsoto Stadium were equally let down by the players who failed once again to rise to the occasion.
Given the quality Bantu have at their disposal, one would have thought that they would win at home or least match their Swazi counterparts pound for pound. But as has been the case with our teams, stage fright got the better of the boys and they just could not do anything right.
Swallows were just too hot to handle and they bossed Bantu as if they (Swallows) were the home team.
This loss taught me one thing, which is that the standards of local football remain in a cul de sac while those of our neighbours are constantly improving.
We always get the same results of losing at this stage of this competition and we always make the same mistakes regardless of who we play.
It was so disappointing to see Bantu produce a lacklustre performance while they are dominating our league.
Bantu are a very organised team and they and Lioli have been the top dogs on the domestic scene for the past five years but their struggles on the continental stage should sound the alarm bells to the entire local football fraternity.
As my colleague, Mikia Kalati, pointed out in his weekly column in our sister newspaper, the Lesotho Times, Bantu’s performance demonstrated why a new approach is required to take local soccer out of the doldrums where it currently finds itself in.
We cannot go like this and continue as the continent’s whipping boys.
Changing the state of our football will require a concerted effort by all stakeholders and the time to begin identifying the rot ahead of possible solutions is now, not tomorrow.