Bantu president, Leuta Leuta, has called on his players to atone for their early exit from the 2015 African Champions League tournament.
A Matšo Matebele were beaten 1-0 by AS Mangasport of Gabon in the preliminary round of the continental tournament but Leuta says the team is still on course for the league and LNIG Top8 titles, whose wins could make-up for last weekend’s disappointing ouster.
Bantu needed to score at-least two goals without conceding any in Sunday’s reverse fixture at Setsoto Stadium after losing the first leg 1-0 a fortnight ago in Gabon, but failed to breach the
Mangasport defence, leading to the early exit.
“The whole Bantu family is disappointed that we have failed to advance to the next stage of the competition,” Leuta said this week.
“But as much as it is painful, life should go on as we still have the league and LNIG Top8 titles to fight for.”
Leuta further said the team had been confident of doing well in the tournament but came agonisingly short, particularly in the must-win return leg.
“We did brilliantly in Gabon although we lost 1-0 in that match. However, because of the slim margin, I had hoped we would turn the tables and beat Mangasport here at home, but unfortunately, this was not to be,” said Leuta.
“But like I said, all is not lost as we still have two major trophies to fight for domestically and I expect the team to bounce back from this continental disappointment and take both the league and Top trophies.”
Leuta further said he felt the game was really lost in the return leg when the team simply failed to play their normal game, and star-striker Litšepe Marabe was red-carded in the 43rd minute for reacting to a violent shove from the visitors.
“I feel our game-plan did not work out and the players also failed to go flat-out for those two goals we needed. The red card also did not help matters.
“But like I have already said, the defeat should not discourage the players, and in fact, I can see the team becoming stronger going forward. This was a valuable experience for every single one of us, and most importantly, it gave our youngsters international experience that should definitely help them as we fight for domestic honours.”