|A mountain to climb for Bantu... but it's possible, says Madidilane|
Bantu coach James Madidilane says A Matšo Matebele have nothing to lose in Wednesday’s CAF Champions League decider against Mbabane Swallows but he said playing with two strikers would be “suicidal”.
Bantu head into the away tie at the Swaziland champions trailing 4-2 from the first leg at Setsoto two Sundays ago.
The return game will kick off at 4pm at Swaziland’s national Somhlolo Stadium.
Madidilane’s side need a minimum of three goals to have any chance of progressing to the next round of the competition. Because of the away goals rule, the only way for Bantu to advance is to win by a three-goal margin (3-0, 4-1) or secure a high-scoring two-goal result (5-3, 6-4).
However, even with Bantu’s need for goals, Madidilane said it would be foolish for A Matšo Matebele to go gung-ho in attack and leave themselves exposed in defence. He said the Mafeteng giants need to improve defensively to stand a chance in Swaziland.
“I don’t see my team playing with two strikers (in the second leg),” Madidilane said. “With the type of players that we have I don’t think we would allow that because as much as we need to score goals we also mustn’t concede.”
“You can see we are still struggling in terms of our defending and it will be suicidal for us to play with two strikers. The match we are going to play on Wednesday is an international game; (Mbabane Swallows) caught us with transitions in the first leg, I imagine they will have many numbers at the back (in the second leg) and try to catch us again on counters. We have to be smart.”
Madidilane added: “We will have to improve; as much as we need goals we also need to defend. The manner and the way that we are going to approach the game is going to be different (from the first leg) but not by playing with two strikers.”
Offence certainly hasn’t been a problem for Bantu in recent weeks. A Matšo Matebele have scored 15 goals in their last six games in all competitions. They have a versatile attack with Lazola Tjokotjokwana, Litšepe Marabe, Lindokuhle Phungulwa and Tsietsi Motšeare all having scored four or more goals this season and Hlompho Kalake a constant threat from midfield.
In the first leg against Mbabane Swallows, Bantu created enough goalscoring chances to win and looked enterprising as usual going forward.
However, the problems for A Matšo Matebele recently have been at the back.
Bantu have only kept two clean-sheets in their past nine games and their latest show of defensive uncertainty came in last Saturday’s 4-2 Econet Premier League win over Linare where their leaky defence almost cost a 3-0 lead.
“The goals that we conceded (against Linare) were cheap goals,” Madidilane said. “We left the opposition players free in our box and we also ball watched. It’s a matter that we have to deal with so that on Wednesday we are not scored against. We have told the players that we have challenge better and we have to prepare ourselves.”
In the first leg, goals from Felix Badenhorst, Wonder Nhleko and a brace by Tony Tsabebze deflated Bantu’s hopes despite home strikes via Motšeare and Kalake.
A Matšo Matebele had gone into the tie with hopes of becoming the first Lesotho club since 2002 to reach the first round of Africa’s premier club competition when LDF beat Botswana’s Mogoditshane Fighters 1-0 on aggregate.
Bantu now face an almost impossible task to achieve that goal but Madidilane refused to give up. He said he hopes a better team balance will give Bantu a better result in the return leg.
“We want to attack with numbers as a team but at least if we have four players at the back it will give us a defensive balance. That will be better for us because we have nothing to lose, we have to go there and win,” Madidilane said.
“The game (against Linare) was better compared to the Mbabane game (in the first leg) but we still have to be quicker in our play because we have to make sure we equalise. We have to come out with intensity as quick as possible.”