Matlama hunt for new coach

MASERU — After a disastrous season that saw them finish fifth in the Vodacom Premier league after going through three coaches, former champions Matlama are eager for a fresh start.

The Maseru-based club, fondly known as Tse Putsoa by its fans, is now looking for a new coach to help them regain the championship they won in 2010.

Tse Putsoa’s communications and marketing manager, Lesolle Phalatsi, told the Lesotho Times in an interview that they will open applications for a new coach next week.

“We are going to open the applications next week after the supporters’ committee and the board have both met,” Phalatsi said on Monday.

The league and cup double winners in 2009/10 have had a disastrous 12 months in which they surrendered both crowns and finished outside the top four.

They have been without a coach since the departure of Motlalepula Majoro who was at the helm for only a short time.

Tse Putsoa finished the season under the tutelage of a four-man coaching team of players Matsoai Shokhoe, Lehlohonolo Mokhele, Sello Seholoholo and Nkau Lerotholi.

Ntebele Taole was sacked as coach last October despite leading the team to the Vodacom Premier League and Vodacom Soccer Spectacular titles.

His replacement, Mokoena Mohale, quit barely weeks into his job.

Then Mahao Matete took over in November and looked to have somewhat stabled the ship but he too left his job in March citing abuse from unhappy supporters.

Now applications will re-open for the toughest job in Lesotho football.

Taole is emerging as the favourite in certain sections of the Matlama camp to return to the hot seat.

It is also rumoured that some players have expressed interest in keeping the status quo.

However Phalatsi ruled out both options saying Matlama will only hire a qualified coach.

According to the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) directives, all coaches in the Vodacom Premier League will need to have proper coaching qualifications starting from next season.

“We are going to look at his (the prospective coach) expertise, his qualifications,” Phalatsi said.

“We are going look at his achievements, what he has won and his style to ensure that it fits into our football tradition.”

Phalatsi added there was no shortlist and no favourites as yet for the job.

But he hinted that Matlama’s board would like to see the new man take charge as soon as possible so that he can focus on building the team for next season.

Phalatsi added that the new man would be given funds to search for new signings to reinforce the club.

“He has to see which players he wants to register and which will leave the club so that when the season starts he hits the ground running. It should be all systems go (when the season starts).”

Phalatsi was however non-committal as to whether the new man would be given time to build a winning team.

“We are quite ambitious. We might be flexible and understanding but it will be directly proportional to the results on the field,” Phalatsi said.

Tse Putsoa are due to take part in a one-day four-team tournament sponsored by local sports magazine Mabaleng on Saturday.

The bonanza will be contested by Matlama, Lioli, Bantu and Linare at Setsoto Stadium and the winner will walk away with M12 000.

“Every tournament that we enter we want to win,” Phalatsi said.

“I think you saw this past season that even though things haven’t gone smoothly whenever the team was faced with a challenge they came to the party.”

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