MASERU — The Vodacom Soccer Spectacular goes down to the wire this weekend at Setsoto Stadium with the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
The Lesotho Times previews the last four remaining contenders, Maduma, Bantu, Matlama and LDF.
Maduma — Underdogs
Maduma undoubtedly go into the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular finale as the underdogs.
Despite the side’s heroic comeback against Linare in the quarterfinals where they fought back to win on away-goals, Maduma still rank as outsiders for the M360 000 Soccer Spectacular jackpot.
Their task isn’t made any easier by having to face Lesotho’s form team, Bantu, in the semi-final.
But such is the character of Maduma.
The team’s assistant coach, Ntsasana Phera, says it is a chance to showcase themselves on the biggest stage of all.
“It’s just a normal game for us; our motto is to take one game at a time. What we know is that this is a chance to display what Maduma is all about and show that we deserve to be on the stage,” Phera says.
“When you look at it, Bantu is a team with sponsors and big names. We don’t have those things; it is a big game for us. We have motivation to do well,” Phera says.
Maduma’s trademark since their promotion to the top league last year has been their determination backed up by their fanatic supporters who are likely to travel down from Butha-Buthe in their numbers.
Bantu — The favourites
Bantu come into the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular finals this weekend as the favourites.
After disposing of league champions LCS in the previous round A Matšo Matebele have every right to be considered as such. It has been a wonderful start to the season for Bantu.
Last month the Mafeteng giants won the Independence Cup, their first trophy since 1997 and under the guidance of Ntebele “Tata” Taole, Bantu have assumed an air of invincibility.
They are Lesotho’s new glamour team and this weekend will be looking to add a second major trophy to the cabinet in as many months.
“We are prepared, our aim is to win and lift the cup,” Taole says simply.
Bantu were involved in a tough battle against LCS on Sunday, only winning on penalties, while Maduma have been rested for two weeks. But Taole says this would not hamper his side. “It’s a big advantage on our side,” Taole says.
Another big advantage, Taole adds, is the attitude of the team.
“The luck I had when I joined Bantu was that I found players who want to learn and who listen,” Taole says.
Matlama — The ‘home team’
For Matlama winning is in the club’s DNA, they are Lesotho’s most decorated side after all. It is this culture many feel can drive Tse Putsoa to another historic achievement.
But more than anything, at the weekend at Setsoto it will be their home support who could make the most difference.
Matlama communications and marketing manager, Lesolle Phalatsi and his team will be the ones responsible for bringing out the sea of blue which saw Matlama beat SuperSport United at Setsoto in February.
“We have to win,” Phalatsi says, adding LDF will be tricky opponents.
In the end Matlama’s key is their home support. Phalatsi says Setsoto will be a sea of blue and they will be celebrating victory come Sunday night.
LDF — The Dark-horses
LDF are always there in the thick of the action and here they are again battling in the final stages of a major tournament.
Winning is the culture of the team.
But one thing is beginning to irritate Sohle-Sohle. Since winning the league in 2004 LDF have won just one trophy, the Buddie Top 4 in 2008.