Motlatsi Shale, who was appointed Bantu coach just before the 2013/14 season roared into life will face one of his biggest coaching tests this weekend as Bantu hope to defend their Independence Cup.
Bantu face a fierce battle from Lioli, LCS and LDF in their ambition to be crowned champions of this year’s edition of the Top4 competition.
The Mafeteng-based team did not have the best start they were hoping for in the two opening matches which they played goalless draws, but have since turned a corner with three successive wins, including a 9-0 thrashing of Joy three weeks ago.
They will surely head into this weekend’s Top4 showdown high in confidence after three back-to-back wins.
A Matšo Matebele, as Bantu are affectionately known, have to overcome a much disciplined LDF side on Saturday before they can think of playing in their third successive final of the Independence Trophy.
One thing is for sure, if Bantu wants to win, they have to be at their best against a disciplined LDF side that is enjoying a good run of results.
LDF who are under the mentorship of Motheo Mohapi could also be hoping to finally end their search for a major title after almost six seasons without winning a single cup competition.
They have been one of the most consistent teams in the league and they still have unfinished business with Bantu having ended the Mafeteng-based team’s unbeaten run in the league last season.
The result saw Bantu lose the league title to rivals Lioli.
The army side head into this match in high spirits after a 2-0 win over Melele over the weekend to earn them a fourth win of the season.
The other semi-final match will see Lioli coach Mosholu “Shoes” Mokhothu coming up against his former team, LCS, which he left at the end of last season.
Mokhothu has led the two clubs to league success in previous campaigns and will be motivated to get a win over LCS en route to Sunday’s final.
There is no doubt that just like Shale, Mokhothu is under pressure to win a trophy for the Teyateyaneng-based side that made a big investment in new players during pre-season. Over M100 000 was spent to reinforce the club.
Based on their fine start to the season, Lioli players should not think they will get it easy against a struggling LCS that suffered a third defeat in five matches over the weekend.
Masheshena have Katiso Mojakhomo at the helm and he is hoping to bring back the glory days to the correctional services side who are going through a rough patch.
Well, it is really difficult to say what the problem is with LCS, but I feel that most of their key players are in the twilight of their careers and are no longer the same players they were a few years ago.
The likes of Kutloisiso Nthonyana, Moitheri Ntobo, Thulo Ranchobe, Thabane Rankara, are now approaching their late 30s and it is clear that they can no longer reproduce the fine performances of yesteryears.
The writing is on the wall that LCS needs to inject the aging team with fresh blood. Come transfer window, they should bring in new faces to help save their sinking ship that has seen them lose to league minors like Mphatlalatsane.
The correctional services side has lost three of their opening five matches which is below par for a team that won two back-to-back trophies two seasons ago.
We are all counting down the hours to the Independence Cup tournament that I hope will provide the football fraternity with an entertaining, clean refereeing and goals-galore showcase as four of the big teams in the country battle it out for the title plus M50 000 first prize money.