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Matlama axe Taole

by Lesotho Times


Outgoing Matlama coach, Ntebele Taole…veteran coach angered by the manner of his dismissal 

Mikia Kalati

Premier league giants Matlama have re-assigned veteran coach Ntebele ‘Mocholene’ Taole and replaced him with Lehlohonolo ‘Killer’ Mokhele—a move which has not gone down well with the seasoned mentor.

The Sea Point outfit on Tuesday confirmed overhauling their technical department, appointing Mokhele head-coach, while Sello Seholoholo and Mohale Mokuena would be his assistants.

Matsoai Shokhoe remains goalkeepers’ coach, while Taole has been appointed technical advisor.

According to Matlama secretary general, Thabo Nkhahle, another shake-up is that of Maile Mokuena, who will double-up as a coach for the youth team and one of the assistant coaches with the senior squad as the nine-time league champions prepare for the 2015/16 season, which is expected to begin in two months’ time.

Mokhele, who took charge of Matlama briefly during the 2013/14 season, had been with the club’s junior sides since, and has been backed by Nkhahle to do well in his new head-coach role.

Nkhahle on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times that the new coaches would be capable of handling Matlama “since they were learning under Taole and Mofihli Makoele, who were in charge of the team for the last two seasons”.

He continued: “The club relieved the three of their duties in the 2012/13 season because we felt they still needed to learn the job before they could take-over the senior team.

“Like I said, Mokhele is now the interim head-coach and will be assisted by Mohale and Seholoholo. Hopefully, they can handle the pressure and get the appointments on a long-term basis.

“It’s not that they did badly the last time around, but the pressure of coaching the team became too much for them, especially during the big matches. That’s why we felt they could get better with a bit of mentoring.

“Matlama have remained committed to developing our own coaches, which is why we gave them a chance to grow without pressure. We now believe they are ready to take over, hence these appointments.

“I’m confident these coaches will help the team do well in the new season as we would also like to add three or four players to reinforce our squad.”

Nkhahle further said Matlama wanted to “create to a pool of coaches” for future consideration for roles at the Sea Point outfit.

However, Taole told the Lesotho Times that the knives had long been out for him and was not surprised that he had been shown the door. The veteran mentor further reacted angrily to suggestions by Nkhahle that he had been re-assigned to become technical advisor.

“They should stop playing around with words to make it sound good. I have been fired and that is what they should be telling the nation and not make it appear as if it was something else,” Taole said.

Taole further told the Lesotho Times that he was “hurt” by the manner he was removed as head-coach.

“They should have been honest with me instead of telling me that I will serve in the team’s technical committee.

“This is the end for me and Matlama; what is left is for me to return their staff that I still have,” he said.

According to Taole, the management should have told him where he had failed.

“I feel the team improved a lot under me, as we reached two finals last season, which we unfortunately lost—one through a penalty shootout (11-10 to Lioli in the Independence Cup) and the LNIG Top8 we lost 3-2 against Bantu.”

Matlama also ended the 2014/15 season in fourth position on the 14-team premier league table, winning the support of many neutrals in the process through their free-flowing attacking football.

“The supporters just need to know that I have been fired and not these stories that are being made-up for my departure to sound and look good and amicable,” said Taole.


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