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Township Rollers on Tuesday...
Bantu coach James Madidilane says the Lesotho champions need to adopt a winning mindset to every game.
Speaking on Thursday, Madidilane side his side went into Tuesday’s CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg away to Township Rollers in the right frame of mind.
The result was a well-earned 1-1 draw at the Lobatse Sports Complex which gives A Matšo Matebele a vital away goal to take into the second leg to be played next Tuesday at Setsoto Stadium.
Kickoff for the decider will be at 18:00 and the winner will proceed to face AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo for a place in the lucrative Champions League group stage.
Bantu will start in a good position at Setsoto thanks to Litšepe Marabe’s goal in Botswana.
“Even though we were aiming for victory (in the first leg) we are proud that we managed to get a draw in an away game. Getting a draw and a goal is still good for us because we have nothing to lose,” Madidilane said.
Madidilane praised his players’ mindset for the tie in Lobatse. He added that he has “full trust” in his charges when they are focused on the game, perhaps alluding to Bantu’s inconsistent start in the Econet Premier League where the champions are fourth are after eight games.
“I’ve got players who are determined to do the work when they are focused, but whenever they get into the field with their heads down it’s not easy to win any game. (When it comes to winning) it is more in their mindset than any physical job,” the former South Africa and Bloemfontein Celtic defender said.
“It’s a problem that I am still working on – to prepare them mentally so that they always get into the field with their heads up and morale flying.”
“We get good results when more of them are playing as a team,” Madidilane added.
“I always tell them to corporate because I work on the team unity principle and that’s what I told them when we went in this encounter (against Township Rollers); there wasn’t much to tell them because I know them well.”
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Bantu’s focus is now on Tuesday’s all-important second leg and Madidilane said he learned Township Rollers’ strengths which largely lie on crosses into the box. He said to tame the Botswana champs will take more than a one-man effort.
“They are good in areas; they have good players with dangerous crosses. What we have to do is cut the supply of their crosses and put more pressure on them,” Madidilane said.
Bantu have put themselves in a position to make history. A win on Tuesday would make A Matšo Matebele the first Lesotho team to make it past the preliminary stage of Africa’s premier club competition since LDF in 2002.
In order to achieve that goal, Madidilane said it is important for Bantu not to put any added pressure on themselves and only concentrate on the game.
“The pressure is there as we are playing at our home ground (but) we don’t have to put ourselves under pressure,” Madidilane said.
“We have to prepare ourselves in a good way and focus. We need the players to concentrate on the game. In football if you don’t defend well you’ll lose. We have to prepare our defensive department as well as the attacking force. We have to plan very well for this encounter.”
Bantu are not in Econet Premier League action this weekend in order to do just that.
Madidilane said Bantu are looking to play practice games to sharpen their skills.
“We are hoping to have a friendly match on Saturday, we might opt for international teams also if the match will be at Setsoto since we cannot travel outside as we do not have time,” he said.
Setsoto is expected to be rocking when Bantu host Township Rollers next Tuesday and Madidilane thanked the support his side has received.
“I do not want to thank Bantu supporters only but also Basotho at large; we represent the nation and we have to make them happy,” Madidilane said.
“We are going in this encounter aiming for a win to make them proud; we always go into every game thinking about them. Come Tuesday it will be the same.”