Relief for Mafoso
BANTU coach Bob Mafoso is relieved to retain five of his players who nearly joined the LMPS.
The quintet of Thabiso Lichaba (goalkeeper), Lehlohonolo Fothoane, Hlompho Kalake, Tau Masiu and Thabo Lesaoana (midfielders) were all linked with moves to the police outfit.
They had applied to train as police officers and passed their interviews but unfortunately failed to make it onto the final list of selected trainees.
Often, when players join police training, they end up playing for the police side, LMPS. Had the five managed to join the force, then Bantu would have lost them.
Bantu had already signed Thabang Klass from Polokwane City, Setho Moshoeshoe from LCS, Tšotleho Jane (free agent) and Kamogelo Wolff from Kick4Life.
Itumeleng Sheleng joined from Lioli as a replacement for Bokang Sello who was initially expecting to join DStv Premiership side Chippa United and later Golden Arrows. However, all the deals fell through.
The quint’s failure to join the police force means they remain Bantu players.
Mafoso had earlier expressed worries that he would lose five players but said he was relieved that they have all stayed.
“When you have a good squad, you are always happy,” Mafoso said adding: “No one wants to lose their best players”.
“We are happy that they are still here, we had to plan for life without them hence the reinforcements we made but now that they are still here, we are happy.”
Mafoso’s charges are the league’s defending champions and enjoyed a good start to the season and are already topping the table with a 100 percent record after winning four of their opening matches before the suspension of the league last month.
He said while it was sad that the players lost jobs, they also have contracts to fulfil with Bantu.
“There will always be disappointments in life and they will differ based on circumstances. We know that it is not easy but they will have to deal with it because as much as they wanted to leave, they also have contracts here. We cannot do anything about what happened although it is sad that they lost such an opportunity.
“I was ready to let them go and that is why we reinforced our squad. The only challenge we will have now is the competition for jerseys.”
He also said their failed moves have now put Bantu under a financial strain.
“We anticipated that they were leaving, so we reinforced the team. We could not risk losing them without any reinforcements.
“It’s now going to be tough to select a matchday squad. It will be even tougher for players to get game time. Imagine having six players for one position. Nevertheless, I am just happy that we have a healthy and driven squad because the team will be fighting for positions,” Mafoso said.