MASERU – Bantu and Matlama meet in a decisive Econet Premier League (EPL) top of the table tie at Setsoto Stadium this Sunday, the same venue where both teams registered equivalent victories last weekend.
Bantu beat Kick4Life 3-1 on Saturday.
Matlama beat 3-1 Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) FC the following day.
Bantu have not lost any league match since the beginning of the season in September last year. In all their 15 matches so far, they only drew once (1-1) against Matlama in the first round, and won all the other 14 matches.
This is not the same case with Matlama who have lost twice and drew four times from 15 matches.
They are however sitting right behind Bantu (on second place) at 31 points.
Bantu though are opening a 12-point gap between them (on pole position) and Matlama on 43 points.
Matlama coach Charles Manda in this regard said the pressure is on Bantu going to the Sunday match, and not on his charges.
“It’s them who have so much pressure while we are taking it as a normal game,” Manda said in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday.
Manda reiterated: “We don’t have pressure on our side. The pressure is on their side to maintain the standard they set to be on top.”
Manda noted that being on top comes with pressure while also playing against Matlama is another pressure for Bantu.
This is while he further said playing against Bantu is always fantastic.
“Playing against Bantu is always fantastic. So we just don’t want to put pressure on us.”
“No more pressure, no more attitude, no more everything because we don’t want to put pressure on our guys or start panicking or pressing a wrong button,” Manda said.
He is very much aware that pride is at stake come Sunday, much more than it was with a game against LCS last Sunday.
“Yes, we have come from a win (3-1 win over LCS) and yes we drew 1-1 against them (Bantu) in the first round. But the pride is now high.
“We need to take maximum points from them, because if you want to be there to contest for the championship you need to start take points from them before going to other teams,” Manda said.
Bantu coach Atang ‘Bob’ Mafoso said the Bantu-Matlama match is so far the biggest game on the local football calendar taking into consideration the two teams’ current log standings and also the fact that they both command big following in the country.
“It’s a big game, I think because they are the two teams who have big following in the country. But now three points is a must for each on Sunday,” said Mafoso.
“So this is a game where bragging rights are very important.”
But Mafoso said the preparation will not be different. He said they are preparing for the Matlama match the same way they prepare for other teams.
He, however, said they are taking one game at the time.
“We are taking one game at a time and this week we are focusing on Matlama’s game, and we are preparing for a win at all time.
“In that regard this game (Matlama’s match) is not much different from others.”
Mafoso further said their game against Matlama is not that much about records but all about the three points both teams are looking to collect from the match.
“It’s not that much about records. It’s all about three points to collect,” Mafoso said.
EPL weekend fixtures on a glance
Swallows vs Liphakoe (Nyakosoba)
Kick4Life vs Lioli (LCS Ground)
Lijabatho vs Sefothafotha (Morija)
Lifofane vs FC Likhopo (Butha-Buthe)
Bantu vs Matlama (Setsoto Stadium)
LDF vs Linare (LDF Ground)