The tree that makes a forest
WITH just two matches before they are officially crowned the Econet Premier League 2018/18 champions, Bantu are settling into the glory having steadily shown their intent throughout the season.
Little has changed from the Bantu of 2016/17 under the coaching pair of Bob Mafoso and James Madidilane.
At the same period last year, some fans still feared Lioli could snatch it.
Two seasons ago I had a chat with football loving friends about the necessity of foreign players in our League. I later interviewed legendary, coaches Seephephe Matete and Katiso Mojakhomo about the issue.
The debate was whether or not we need foreign talent in our league if the personnel do not go on to show exception as compared to what our local players can do.
The two coaches agreed that foreign players were to improve the level of competition in our league.
Two years down the line, I think we finally find that kind of player in Lindokuhle Phungulwa, the Bantu anchor man.
Lindo, as the no nonsense midfielder is affectionately known, will be remembered for his exploits in the centre of the park to earn Bantu the majestic trophy this season.
Before his arrival, Bantu had a nightmarish season, finishing in seventh on the log. The side had to make a wholesale changes in their playing personnel that saw them signing Moloisane Ramasimong, Tsietsi Khooa and Teboho Lillane among others.
The overhaul worked wonders for Bantu as they won their second league title.
Phungulwa joined Bantu at the start of last season and it took him some time to settle as he arrived way after the rest of the new signings.
The player has since stamped his authority and has cemented his place. Competitors for his position, Thabiso Mohapi and Lillane have been silently pushed out to join Lioli and Matlama respectively as he has shown command.
Lindo is tireless. In a team that who style revolves around ball possession as influenced by Madidilane, they need a player in front of the defensive line to give them a consistent cover by intercepting loose balls.
He has to win balls from the opposition and this is what Phungulwa does.
The South African citizen also provides support for the offensive players going forward, winning the ball at the right moment before immediately setting up counter attacks for his team’s deadly attackers. To cap it all, he even scores when it matters.
Bantu now has balance, thanks to Phungulwa’s output. On the field he is fast, intelligent and combative while he also remains modest and generous. He is an exemplary team player needed in a team setup such as Bantu.
This season Lindo has been the most consistent player in the Bantu fold even during rare occasions when they lost, he still stood out as one of the best!
They say: “A man is as strong as his backbone” and Bantu’s backbone is Lindo. It will not be a surprise if he walks away with the player of the season accolade.