|Bantu came close but got no cigar against Mbabane Swallows|
2018 CAF Champions League
Preliminary Round, Second leg
Wednesday, 21 February
5-5 on aggregate (Mbabane Swallows win on away goals)
Bantu’s CAF Champions League adventure is over and although it was a valiant effort by A Matšo Matebele to beat Mbabane Swallows in their own backyard, it was another case of close but no cigar for Lesotho in Africa’s premier club competition.
Bantu went into Wednesday’s second leg at the Somhlolo Stadium in Swaziland needing to win by three goals to advance after losing the first leg 4-2 in Maseru two weeks earlier.
In the end the Lesotho champions managed to defeat Mbabane Swallows 3-1, but it wasn’t enough.
The result made the aggregate score 5-5 but Mbabane Swallows won on the away goals rule.
It is a most painful way to be knocked for Bantu who in the second leg showed their potential to do well on the African stage. A Matšo Matebele’s win in Swaziland was the first time a Lesotho side has won an away Champions League tie since 1998 when, ironically, LDF beat Mbabane Swallows 4-1.
The only other times a Lesotho team managed an away win were in 1992 when Arsenal beat Namibia’s Eleven Arrows 1-0, in 1990 when Arsenal beat Denver Sundowns of Swaziland 3-0 and in 1987 when Matlama beat Botswana’s Gaborone United 2-0.
Despite insisting beforehand that Bantu would not play with two strikers because of his side’s defensive frailties, coach James Madidilane put out an extremely adventurous line-up that featured five attack-minded players with Tsietsi Motšeare, Litšepe Marabe, Tsebang Lebata, Ramasimong Maloisane and Hlompho Kalake all starting at Somhlolo.
Madidilane was rewarded for his daring when Lebata gave A Matšo Matebele the lead in the fifth minute to raise hopes of a memorable afternoon for the Lesotho champions.
However, Bantu’s defence has been a weak-link in recent weeks and just a minute later Felix Badenhorst had scored to make it 1-1. From there Bantu had to score three more goals without reply to advance.
With the scores tied 1-1 at halftime, A Matšo Matebele came out guns blazing in the second period while Mbabane Swallows appeared more content to hold what they had. It almost cost the home side.
Bantu scored twice through Marabe and Kalake to put the miracle back on track. But, despite huffing and puffing with all their might, the Mafeteng visitors couldn’t blow Mbabane’s house down. In the end, Bantu came out with an historic moral victory. Even so, had their defence been better in the home leg, it could have been so much more.
|Bantu's defeat continues Lesotho poor record in Africa...|
For Lesotho its dismal record in Africa’s top competition continues. No Lesotho club has advanced to the first round of the tournament since LDF in 2002.
In fact, only seven times in 29 ties since 1986 has a local side progressed past the preliminary stage and only once ever has a Lesotho team made it to the second round – that was in 1992 when Arsenal beat Swaziland’s Denver Sundowns (4-0 on aggregate) and Mozambique’s Ferroviario de Maputo (2-1) before falling to Nkana Red Devils of Zambia (8-1).
Many had hoped that 2018, with a confident Bantu, would be the year when things changed.
Bantu starting XI v Mbabane Swallows: Thabo Selisa - Johannes Molapo, Itumeleng Falene, Tsietsi Khooa, Thapelo Mokhehle © - Lindokuhle Phungulwa, Ramasimong Maloisane, Hlompho Kalake - Tsietsi Motšeare, Litšepe Marabe, Tsebang Lebata
Lesotho in the CAF Champions League since 1986:
2018 Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) 5-5 Bantu
2017 CAPS United (Zimbabwe) 2-1 Lioli
2016 Vital’O (Burundi) 2-2 Lioli (Vital’O won on away goals)
2015 AS Mangasport (Gabon) 1-0 Bantu
2014 Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 3-2 Lioli
2013 Dynamos (Zimbabwe) 3-1 LCS
2012 URA (Uganda) 3-0 LCS
2011 SuperSport United (RSA) 3-2 Matlama
2010 Did not take part
2009 Did not take part
2008 Platinum Stars (RSA) 4-1 LCS
2007 Zanaco (Zambia) 1-0 Likhopo
2006 Sundowns (RSA) 4-0 Likhopo
2005 CAPS United (Zimbabwe) 8-4 LDF
2004 Orlando Pirates (RSA) 7-0 Matlama
2003 Did not take part
2002 Mogoditshane Fighters (Botswana) 1-2 LDF
2001 Did not take part
2000 AS Fortior (Madagascar) 0-0 LDF (LDF won on penalties)
Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA) 6-2 LDF
1999 Notwane (Botswana) 2-4 LDF
Dynamos (Zimbabwe) 4-0 LDF
1998 Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) 1-6 LDF
Manning Rangers (RSA) 5-4 LDF
1997 Limbe Leaf Wanderers (Malawi) 2-5 Rovers
Orlando Pirates (RSA) 1-0 Rovers
1996 CS Saint-Denis (Reunion) 10-1 Majantja
1995 JS Saint-Pierroise (Reunion) 6-2 LDF
1994 Sundowns (RSA) 5-1 Arsenal
1993 Sunrise Flacq United (Mauritius) 4-3 Matlama
1992 Eleven Arrows (Namibia) 0-4 Arsenal
Kampala City Council (Uganda) 2-2 Arsenal (KCC won on penalties)
1991 Pamba SC (Tanzania) 3-0 LDF
1990 Denver Sundowns (Swaziland) 0-4 Arsenal
Ferroviario de Maputo (Mozambique) 1-2 Arsenal
Nkana Red Devils (Zambia) 8-1 Arsenal
1989 Botswana Defence Force XI 5-2 Matlama
1988 Sunrise Flacq United (Mauritius) 3-2 LDF
1987 Gaborone United (Botswana) 0-3 Matlama
Nakivubo Villa SC (Uganda) 5-0 Matlama
1986 Maji Maji (Tanzania) 7-2 Lioli