Bantu FC attacking ace midfielder, Litšepe Marabe, is unlikely to play in tomorrow’s big clash against log-leaders and rivals, Matlama FC at the Setsoto stadium.
According to Bantu’s coach, James Madidilane, the Lesotho international is still nursing an ankle injury and might not make the field to allow him to recover.
Marabe got injured a fortnight ago while preparing for his side’s match against Lesotho Defence Force, he continued to play but a tussle with the army side’s defender Malebanye Lebona aggravated the injury.
“It is possible that he might not play, but we are waiting for feedback from our doctor to tell us if he will be able to play against Matlama, he is not practicing now,” Madidilane said.
Besides Marabe, Bantu will be playing without the club’s trusted defender, Tsietsi Khooa, Midfielder, Katiso Selili, and striker, Tsietsi Motšeare.
Madidilane said the technical team was already working on the players’ replacements.
“We do have players to fill their spaces because we have two players in one position and their replacements are doing very well. Marabe and Motšeare will hopefully recover before the game,” he said.
Madidilane said they have been preparing for this clash as it is bound to be a tough encounter. Both teams will be tussling to pocket the M50 000 at stake as pledged by the two teams’ sponsors; Metropolitan Lesotho and Alliance Insurance Company.
Metropolitan, which sponsors Bantu, injected M25 000, while Alliance Insurance Company also forked out an equal amount.
“We are preparing very well and we want to win, we are prepping in a sense that we should win this match. We have been working on the approach and concentration in the game for the entire 90 minutes game time,” he said.
“We also don’t want to put ourselves under pressure just because we want to win because that will work negatively against us,” Madidilane pointed out.
“We have never had easy matches with Matlama, it has always been a very tough encounter even though we won twice this year, and there is no much difference in our margin. It’s more of rivalry when both teams play, like the Soweto Chiefs and Pirates derby,” he continued.
“They are leading the pack and they will be aiming to consolidate their points as we also will be trying to close in to have a better chance of grabbing the league title,” he said.
For his part Marabe said he felt better and might be eligible to play tomorrow.
Bantu drags behind Matlama in the log standings, with Matlama leading the pack with 56 points while Bantu rests on the second spot with 51 points.
Bantu’s win will give the club a better chance to close in, keeping their title hopes alive.
“I am better and I think the injury will allow me to do everything, it is way better than last week,” he said.
“I don’t have to put it in my head that I have injury because it will affect my performance, I have to concentrate in the game if fielded,” Marabe said.
The Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) spokesperson, Moeketsi Ramakatsa, stated in a seperate interviw that the financial injection by private companies to put money on the table for the winners of the match makes history in the country and marks growth in sports.
“We are very happy as the premier league because when money comes in to support our local teams, it indicates the growth of our local football,” he said.
“Both sponsors of the two teams decided that they both pledge M25 000 and the winner takes all, but if the game ends in a draw the money will be returned to the companies,” he said.
“It is going to be a very big game that spectators are going to enjoy. It is the first time in our football history to have this kind of a game. It marks history and I appeal to football supporters to go to the stadium in huge numbers,” he said.