Mafeteng is the place to be this weekend as Bantu host fellow premier league outfits Matlama, LCS and Liphakoe as well as Free State Stars from South Africa in a potentially thrilling two-day football fiesta.
The tournament, which erupts on Saturday at Leshoboro Stadium, provides the perfect platform for the local teams to parade their new signings ahead of the 2015/16 season scheduled to begin on 22 August.
In addition, Bantu, LCS and Matlama have just appointed new coaches namely Katiso Mojakhomo, Mpitsa Marai and Moses Maliehe respectively, who are also set to be the centre of attraction during the tournament.
Bantu vice-president Molefi Lenqosane told the Lesotho Times this week that preparations were on track for the pre-season jamboree and has urged fans to come to the stadium in their numbers to witness some of Lesotho’s best talent in action.
“Preparations are at an advanced stage to host the three local teams as well as our visitors from South Africa,” Lenqosane said.
“The tournament is a good platform for the teams to prepare for the upcoming season and also test their new players and I expect the event to be very competitive and exciting.”
Lenqosane said Bantu players were in good spirits and looking forward to both the tournament and new season.
“We will have two matches on Saturday and two more on Sunday as Free State Stars are coming with a big squad to test the players ahead of the new campaign,” said Lengosane
For Maliehe, the tournament provides him with an opportunity to assess the quality he would be working with after assuming the Matlama hot-seat on Monday this week.
“I have just joined the team and every pre-season match would be for assessing the squad before maybe bringing in new faces,” Maliehe said.
On the other hand, Marai said he was settling down well at LCS and looking forward to the weekend competition.
“We started our preseason training at the gym with fitness specialist Ntsie Mapetla, and now we are doing ball-work,” Marai said.
“I am happy with the players’ response and hopefully, we will continue to work in harmony as we prepare for the new season.”
However, Marai said the team was yet to add new faces, and would only do so after careful evaluation of those in camp.
“We don’t have any new players at the moment, but are looking for a good opportunity to reinforce the team.”
On his part, Liphakoe midfielder, Mohau Rammoneng, said the upcoming competition was ideal preparation for the team’s return to topflight football. The team was relegated from the elite league after the 2003/4 season and hopes to be competitive this time around.
“Preseason is always tough due to the physical training involved, but that pain helps you prepare for a tough season,” Rammoneng said.
“We have to be ready for our first season back in topflight football, which is why this tournament could not have come at a better time.”
Meanwhile, Free State Stars public relations officer, Lebohang Maketa, said the South African outfit would be arriving in Lesotho tomorrow.
“We are bringing a big squad that is going to be very competitive and will arrive in Lesotho on Friday,” Maketa said.
Saturday: LCS v Free State Stars (1pm); Matlama v Free State Stars (3pm).
Sunday: Liphakoe v Free State Stars (1pm); Bantu v Free State Stars (3pm).