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Bantu, Matlama collide in championship showdown  

Business

Seabata Mahao

The reigning champions of the Vodacom Premier League (VPL), Bantu FC, are poised for a high-stakes showdown this weekend against perennial rivals, Matlama FC, in a pivotal encounter as the race for the league championship heats up.

In a clash between second-placed Matlama and third-placed Bantu, victory holds the key to narrowing the gap on the current table-toppers, Lioli FC, who maintain a slender two-point lead over Matlama and a four-point advantage over Bantu.

Meanwhile, Lioli faces a formidable challenge against the resurgent Linare FC, who enter the fray unbeaten in nine consecutive matches. Linare’s impressive form was evident in their recent goalless stalemate against Matlama, thwarting the latter’s aspirations of closing the gap on Lioli at the summit of the league standings.

With fourth-placed Linare eager to disrupt Lioli’s momentum and replicate their performance against Matlama, the league title race intensifies with each passing fixture, injecting a sense of intrigue and unpredictability into the competition

Reacting to his side’s performance from last weekend, Matlama’s coach, Halemakale Mahlaha said their match was tough but they took control.

“We had an option of substituting our anchor but we needed a player with experience, so we opted for Tšeliso Lekhooa, who assisted us a lot,” Mahlaha said.

On his part, Linare’s coach, Bob Mafoso felt they should have won the match instead of drawing, safe for the mistakes they made.

“We made the mistakes in our backing and with Phafa fumbling the opportunity to score, we landed in a draw,” Mafoso said.

As the 2023/24 VPL season nears its conclusion, having witnessed 26 intense matches thus far, the battle for the championship rages on fiercely among Lioli, Matlama, and Bantu, with only four matches remaining.

In stark contrast, the relegation zone presents a compelling narrative, with ACE Maseru FC, CCX FC, and Manonyane FC all embroiled in a tense struggle, each locked on 17 points.

However, the predicament appears dire for Naughty Boys FC, who languish at the bottom of the table with a mere 10 points accumulated thus far.

The league winners will walk away with the ultimate prize money worth M650, 000, position two M330, 000, position three M210, 000, position four M155, 000, position five M145, 000, position six M115, 000, position seven M100, 000, and position eight M95, 000.

Moreover, position nine will take home M90, 000, position 10 M85, 000, position 11 M80, 000, position 12 M75, 000, position 13 M70, 000, position 14 M65, 000, position 15 M60, 000, and position 16 M55, 000.

The rest of the weekend’s fixture will on Saturday see Lioli FC hosting Linare FC at TY Ground, CCX FC hosting LMPS FC at LAC Ground, LDF FC hosting Naughty Boys at Ratjomose Ground, and LU FC hosting Lijabatho FC at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.

On Sunday, April 28, LCS FC will Lifofane FC at LCS Ground, Matlama FC will host Bantu FC at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, and ACE Maseru FC will host Manonyane FC at Ratjomose Ground.

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