NATIONAL pride will be a stake when premier league champions, Bantu, wade into continental waters when they host Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland in a CAF Champions League qualifier at Setsoto Stadium.
A Matšo Matebele go into match on the back of a 3-1 victory over Liphakoe in the Econet Premier League and although this is a flattering score line, there are grave concerns among the club’s supporters that the club is nowhere near its best in the two matches it has played since the start of the second round of the Econet Premier League.
Bantu fired blanks in their first match with debutants, Sefotha-fotha
I am also worried that the team has not been playing their best football in recent games and we are all concerned because come Sunday they will be representing not just their supporters, but the whole country.
We are all hopeful that A Matšo Matebele learnt from their painful exit at the same stage of the competition three years ago and they will do all they can not to join the long list of local clubs that have been eliminated in the preliminary round.
The Swazi side are not a continental powerhouse and so they can be beaten any day just as they also believe that they can beat teams from Lesotho.
But what is important is for us as the football fraternity is to support the team in an attempt to break the long standing record where Lesotho teams have failed to get past the preliminary round of the prestigious continental competition.
Like I said previously, for me it’s a shame that our teams play in the competition every year to be eliminated at just the first huddle.
This should just come to an end and it is something that needs that needed an effort from all the stakeholders starting with the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) going down to the supporters.
We should never accept mediocrity and that is why I believe it is important for all the stakeholders to put their minds together to make sure that our club’s struggles in African comes to an end.
It is the only way that our football will grow and it will also help Likuena compete better in continental competitions.
The ball is in the court of Bantu players to make sure that they rise to the occasion against Swallows.
For the Lesotho teams, these kind of matches are financed by the LeFA and I think up to so far they have done their part in the marketing of this game.
All that is left is for the supporters to come in big numbers and support the Mafeteng outfit in their quest to become the first Lesotho side to have make in past the preliminary stage of this competition in over two decades.
I think the home advantage really works wonders in this kind of games and the support of Basotho will mean a lot to the Bantu come Sunday.
The second leg from Swaziland is surely going to be very difficult for A Matšo Matebele so they can do themselves a huge favour by making sure that they get the better of their opponents playing in front of their home supporters.
Before I sign out, I also want to touch on the Econet Premier League which is gathering momentum with every round as clubs fight for the championship, Top 4 and Top 8 positions. Other are also fighting to avoid the dreaded chop.
The league has become very entertaining in that every team including champions, Bantu have to work very hard to get maximum points in every game they play.
Just last weekend the Mafeteng side failed to break down rookies Sefotha-fotha in a match that ended goalless and could have gone either way.
This is what you want from a championship which is full of surprises and every team has to work hard in order to get the three points.
New Lioli coach, Morena Ramoreboli, is finding it hard at Tse Nala as he is still yet to win a match since his appointment almost a month ago.
The former league champions who have been a dominant force in the country alongside Bantu recently overhauled their squad in search of a winning formula, but found it difficult against LDF losing 1-0 at home to the army side.
I hope that both LDF and Matlama will maintain their impressive run so that the battle for the league title will not be the usual two horse race between Bantu and Lioli.
It is the same at the bottom of the table where teams like Sefotha-fotha despite their stubbornness against the big guns, remain in the relegation dogfight alongside Linare and Likhopo who are also former league champions. This has made the league very exciting and entertaining for football fanatics.