Another hurdle for Bantu

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Mikia Kalati

BANTU may have to wait longer to be declared the champions of the 2017/18 Econet Premier League due to a protest by fellow top-flight teams that the presentation be delayed until the case has been finalised.

The Lesotho Times understands that at least nine premiership teams have written to the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) demanding that the declaration of Bantu as champions be halted.

The teams cite the ongoing case of the unlawful registration of four more than the permitted five foreign players in the local league.

LeFA’s Disputes and Protests Committee (DISPROCO) in March, adjudged the club to have violated the rules and regulations of the game in the country by unlawfully registering four South African nationals.

Bantu eventually appealed but subsequently lost and the arbitration whose verdict is expected to be handed down this week.

The conviction was after a complaint by Lioli who proved that Thabo Selisa, Itumeleng Falene, Molaoa Pheko and Phumoha Matsipa who played in their December 2017 game are South Africans who had illegally acquired Lesotho identification documents.

Bantu clinched the league title on Ascension Day with a 2-1 victory over LDF.

In a copy of the letter that is in possession of the Lesotho Times dated 9 May 2018, LeFA wrote to the PLMC citing that the title winners would be crowned but the ceremony may be delayed.

The letter said the decision was arrived at after the discussions between the president and the chairperson of the PLMC on 9 May this year.

“The Econet Premier League Champion will only be declared at the end of the league presently scheduled for 19th May, or such other date thereafter as circumstances may dictate,” the letter said.

Nonetheless, Bantu coach, James Madidilane, told this publication that there is still a lot to play for going into the final day of the season.

“The battle is not over yet,” Madidilane said.

“To reach our target we need to get the three points against Matlama.

“We are going to that game in need of a win also bearing in mind that Matlama is one of the big teams in the league. We are going for the kill.”

The Bantu mentor said he wants to finish the campaign on a high despite clinching the league title with two games to spare.

“I think consistency has been the key aspect of our game this season. We only lost twice and drew thrice.

“I think even at times when we had a thin squad we still managed to grind results and it has helped us a lot,” he said.

Matlama coach, Mosito Matela, also said they would play for a win.

Tse Putsoa defeated Bantu in the final of the LNIG Top8 in March and Matela says they can repeat the feat.

Matela also said his side would be looking to finish the season in third position as they are already guaranteed in the top four.

“A place among the top four teams is already guaranteed so we are now targeting to finish third.

“It is an important game being the last of the season and there will be more than just the three points at stake.

“We respect Bantu but pride will be at stake and we also want to finish the season on a high,” Matela said.

Matela, who led the club to their first trophy in over six years, admitted that it has been a tough season having joined the club midway through the campaign.

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