By Moorosi Tsiane
MASERU — A-division side Majantja will face an acid test as they take on South African premier league side Free State Stars in the quarter finals of the two-day Prime Minister’s Charity Cup set for Setsoto Stadium over the weekend.
The Mohale’s Hoek-based outfit have vowed to give the struggling Free State side a run for their money in Saturday’s clash.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Majantja’s Public Relations Officer, Tšepang Makakole, said they have a lot of respect for their South African opponents, adding however that they would not give them any special treatment.
“We will approach them just like any other premier league team and we will have to double our effort to beat them,” Makakole said.
He said the draw, which sees them up against an international team, will give their players international exposure and motivation going into the second round of their league as they have set their eyes on the elite league next season.
“This match will set a platform to test the strength of our team and will give us the much-needed practice coming into the second round of the league as we are hoping to qualify for the premier league next season,” he said.
The Free State-based outfit comes into the tournament following a stream of poor performances in the South African elite league which had forced them to give their head coach Steve Khompela his marching orders last month.
On the other hand, Free State Stars Public Relations Officer, Lebohang Maketa said the tournament comes underway barely a week after they come from the Christmas break, hence they did not have enough preparation time.
“We did not get enough time for training as it is only a week since the players reported into camp from the holidays; however that is not an excuse not to beat Majantja,” Maketa said.
He said playing Majantja will not be a walk-in-the-park for them but stressed that they would settle for nothing short of a win.
“They are a good team and we will give them all the respect they deserve and I know it is not going to be easy winning against them but we are still going to beat them nevertheless,” Maketa said.
Maketa said such competitions were vital as they helped the players to keep in shape during the off season, and that unlike their other South African counterparts who usually bring reserve teams when playing Lesotho teams, they were bringing their full squad into this tournament.
“We are going to bring our full squad into the tournament so as to help keep our players in good shape until our league resumes,” Maketa said.
The two days’ football fiesta featuring five premier league teams of Matlama, Lioli, Bantu, Linare, Likhopo and two A division sides of Liphakoe and Majantja and Free State Stars is expected to create a fun foot-balling weekend.
In the other quarter final games, defending premier league champions Lioli will take on Leribe-based side Linare while on-form Bantu will come up against A-Division side Liphakoe, meanwhile the Maseru City derby will once again come alive as Matlama and Likhopo renew their rivalry.