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Bantu misses out on CAF Champions League


Seabata Mahao

The 2022/23 Vodacom Premier League (VPL) champions, Bantu Football Club, are set to miss out on competing in the 2023 CAF Champions League due to lack of accredited football facilities in the country.

This after the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), which enrolls Lesotho clubs for CAF competitions, announced in November 2022 that it will not enroll any local club in CAF competitions until further notice.

LeFA said this was due to the high costs of hosting games in South Africa, because of Setsoto Stadium’s continued ban by Africa’s governing body, CAF.

LEFA said it forked out close to M2 million for the two games in which Matlama FC played in the preliminary stages of the 2022 edition of CAF Champions League against Cameroon’s Coton Sport de Garoua.

The first leg was hosted at Free State Stadium in South Africa, while the second leg was played in Cameroon.

This week, LeFA’ secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi told Newsday Sports that their position has not changed regarding sending local clubs to play in CAF competitions.

On his part, Bantu FC spokesperson, Pule Mosoati said they have conceded that the club will not participate in the CAF Champions League, as they also failed in their attempts to find possible sponsors to bankroll their expensive excursion in the continental competition.

“We decided to let go of CAF interclub competitions because if LeFA says they will not assist us then we have no other option,” Mosoati said.

“We have now shifted our focus to the 2022/23 VPL end of season awards, where we have multiple players nominated, as well as comforting ourselves with the VPL league title so we hope for better next season,” he added.

Meanwhile, the LDF Ladies club, which won the Women’s Super League, has been enrolled for CAF Women’s Champions League/COSAFA qualifiers as FIFA funded the Member Associations for Women Zonal qualifiers.

“The CAF Women Champions League COSAFA Zonal qualifiers are played in a different format to that of the men’s tournament, where teams gather in one hosting city and with Durban having hosted the last two editions of the tournament, where Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies of South Africa and Green Buffaloes of Zambia having been crowned champions respectively,” LeFA said.

“LDF Ladies, who went the whole season unbeaten as they clinched their third League title in a row, will be hoping for improved fortunes in this year’s tournament having been eliminated in the group stages of the competition when it was introduced two years ago,” it added.

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