Bantu might regret sacking Shale

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Bantu Coach Motlatsi ShaleMikia Kalati

News that premier league giants, Bantu, had decided against retaining charismatic coach Motlatsi Shale came as a bit of a surprise to me.

This was the man who led the club to their first premier league title in 2013/14 and had hoped he would continue with the team for the foreseeable future.

Well, this is football and coaches come and go, but was this decision in the best interest of Bantu considering Shale had brought the club such success in the two seasons he had been at the Mafeteng-based club.

In his first season, Shale won the league and Top4 titles and clinched the Top8 trophy this past season. Although Bantu surrendered the league title to Bantu last season, and ended the campaign in second position, I still feel they had become one of the dominant forces under Shale.

That’s why I feel the decision not to renew Shale’s contract could come back to haunt Bantu because this was a team on the ascendency and the change in leadership could disrupt this process.

I am in no way trying to interfere in Bantu’s affairs, but simply stating how the club’s decision to wield the axe could backfire.

I believe even the players benefited immensely during Shale’s tenure, with Tsebang ‘Owen’ Lebata and Litšepe Marabe winning the league’s top goal-scorer award in 2013/14 and 2014/15, respectively.

The bottom line is Shale managed to bring the best out of his players and with good support systems around him, I still reckon he was going to become a better coach in future and make Bantu a feared brand both in Lesotho and on the continent.

It is understandable management had concerns that Shale had lost control in the dressing room, and with players no longer respecting the coach, it was always going to be difficult to get the best out of the team.

With Shale gone, only time will tell if Bantu did the right thing to get rid of him, and as for the incoming Katiso Mojakhomo—who is set to be announced as Shale’s replacement—we all know he is a no-nonsense coach.

He is a completely different character to Shale and managed to turn things around for the aging LCS side last season, which he led to a third-place finish on the 14-team premier league table.

But the big question is: can he work the same magic with the youngish Bantu outfit?

There is always pressure at A Matšo Matebele as the supporters demand a major trophy every season and the new coach would have to find a way to make the team tick again.

Another challenge for Mojakhomo will be the fact that Bantu have a reputation of buying big-name players, some of which would also be notorious for indiscipline.

Among those players was goalkeeper, Kholuoe Phasumane, who was shown the door by Mojakhomo at LCS but managed to revive his career at Bantu and named best player for the 2014/15 season.

Meanwhile, LCS have appointed their former player, Mpitsa Marai, as their new coach.

Personally, I’m very happy for the former Likuena defender, who has looked very focused on his coaching career.

Because he was at the LCS for over a decade, Marai, who was also once team captain, knows the club inside-out and should have no difficulty settling in.

As for Lioli, the supporters should be very happy the club has extended the contract of their coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu, by another year. Mokhothu led Tse Nala to their fourth league title and Independence Cup last season, so it would have been a real shocker to let such a coach go.

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