Likhopo match a dress rehearsal for Rangers encounter, Bantu says


MASERU - Lesotho champions Bantu will use tomorrow’s Econet Premier League match against FC Likhopo to prepare for the encounter with Rangers International Football Club of Nigeria, commonly known as Enugu Rangers. Bantu and Rangers will meet in the CAF Confederation Cup play-offs in Maseru next weekend and in Nigeria the weekend after. Bantu spokesperson Bokang Phasumane said their team regrouped for training on Wednesday this week for a league match against FC Likhopo this Saturday, a week before the Rangers CAF Confederation Cup first leg play-off at home.

“The players resumed camp yesterday (Wednesday) as we are preparing for our league match against FC Likhopo, which for us is going to be a good preparation for the Rangers match,” said Phasumane in an interview with Public Eye yesterday. He further said: “And the spirits are high at the team’s camp at the moment with players looking forward to the Rangers match.”

In fact, Phasumane said Bantu players are determined to qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup 16-team group stage phase, a feat which they can only achieve if they knock Rangers out of the competition. He said fortunately for the team they had managed to get video clips of Rangers, meaning they now know what to expect against them. “We are not going to undermine them. We have looked at their video clips and realised that almost all of their players are physical.

“And just like the AS Vita players, the Rangers players use their height to their advantage and they score a lot of goals from high balls,” Phasumane said. The flying Antelopes, as the Rangers are affectionately called, are currently lying on 10th place on the 16 team-team Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) table, after garnering 33 points from 24 league games.

Unlike Bantu who have never won a CAF cup before, Rangers won CAF Winners Cup in 1977. Rangers resumed camping for the Bantu tie on Tuesday this week. Reports from Nigeria indicate Rangers would not at all undermine Bantu even though the Lesotho football league is not among the best leagues in Africa.

They showed that the fact that Bantu have come this far in the CAF competition means they are a good team. Bantu dropped into the CAF Confederation Cup after they were knocked out of the CAF Champions League in the first round by AS Vita of DR Congo, while before then Bantu eliminated Township Rollers of Botswana in the preliminary round of the competition. This is Bantu’s maiden appearance in the CAF Confederation Cup after they failed to stamp their authority in the CAF Champions League three times before.


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