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Maliehe quits Sundawana

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

Former national team defender, Moses Maliehe, has left Sundawana Football Club less than five months after joining the ambitious Premier League outfit as head-coach.

Maliehe, who is also head-coach of the national under-20 side, Makoanyane XI, told the Lesotho Times this week that he had quit the job due to personal commitments, and not a bitter fallout with club-owner and popular traditional healer, Thato ‘Sandawana’ Nkone, as rumour has it.

“Unfortunately, I had to part ways with the club over personal commitments as I had limited time to work with the players, which I believe could have led to lack of favourable results,” Maliehe said.

Sundawana, formerly known as Mpharane Celtic, have failed to live-up to their pre-season hype and only registered their second win in eight league matches last weekend, shocking giants Matlama 1-0 at home in Butha-Buthe.

The indifferent start to the season fuelled speculation that club-owner Nkone, who has since declared his ambition to make Sundawana one of the giants of continental football, was not entirely happy with Maliehe. Sundawana are currently in ninth place on the 14-team Premier League table, following two wins, three draws and three losses. However, Maliehe said he had never quarrelled with Nkone over the team’s performance.

“Rumours that I have argued with the club-owner are not true at all because I left the team due to personal reasons, which have nothing to do with how the team has been performing.”

Maliehe also said not being involved with any club would give him time to rest following a hectic football schedule over the past three years.

“Leaving Sundawana gives me time to take a break from football for some time, but I will still be involved with Makoanyane XI. As you know, the under-20s don’t have a tight programme like club football, so I will be able to rest and spend some quality time with my family,” said Maliehe, who has been with Makoanyane XI for the past four years.

In 2011, Maliehe was assistant to then head-coach Leslie Notši as they led Makoanyane XI to the  African Youth Championship tournament held in South Africa, in which Lesotho could however, not go past the group stage.

This year, the Lioli legend came close to leading Makoanyane XI to next year’s edition of the continental competition set for Senegal.

Makoanyane XI knocked-out Swaziland and Angola to reach the third and final round of the tournament’s qualifiers.

However, the team’s final round match against Nigeria failed to take place after the Lesotho Football Association called off their trip to the West African country two months ago due to the deadly Ebola virus which had broken out in the country at the time.

The Confederation of African Football later disqualified Lesotho from the tournament, paving the way for Nigeria to make it to Senegal.

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