Bantu president Leuta John Leuta says Sunday’s bust-up between star midfielder Nzenze Nkulu and technical director Lehlohonolo Seema was “nothing personal” but a disagreement that happens “in the heat of the moment”.
Nkulu and Seema had a heated exchange during the weekend match against Likhopo at Setsoto Stadium after the Congolese playmaker, who was one of the substitutes, was about to be introduced into the match. However, the midfielder was eventually not sent in following the argument, which Leuta played down but still condemned as unacceptable. Bantu won the match 1-0.
“Yes, something like that happened and it is not good at all because both the player and Seema are professionals. They should have acted as such and that behaviour was uncalled for,” Leuta said this week.
“What happened is Nzenze was supposed to come in because Likhopo were putting too much pressure on us. But when he was supposed to go onto the pitch, it was only then that he started looking for his shin-pads. He was also taking his time as if he didn’t want to play. That’s what made all of us furious, not only Seema, because we have been talking to these players about such behavior and telling them that they should be ready to come into the match at short notice.”
Leuta said he had talked with Seema who had since apologised for the incident while the technical team also had a chat with Nkulu.
“Seema was right to be furious but he went about it the wrong way. I spoke with him and told him he could have addressed the issue in a more mature way than that and he apologised. The technical team also spoke with Nzenze because that is not how we are expecting our players to behave. The most annoying thing is we have discussed such issues with our players before. When they are there on the bench, they must always be ready because they also form part of the team that is on the pitch,” he said.
“This is why we have been losing some of our matches because our players don’t behave the way they are expected to conduct themselves. We are trying to be professional here; I know it is going to take time for them to adjust but we will get there.”
Leuta said Nkulu was a very valuable member of Bantu.
“Let me tell you, Nzenze is one of Seema’s favourite players and I think that is why he even overreacted to that behavior because at that time, the team was under pressure and we really needed him. But there he was, behaving as if he did not want to play, hence Seema’s reaction,” said Leuta.
According to Leuta, every Bantu player is treated the same.
“We see all our players as equal and none of them will get special treatment. That is why we needed to make an example on Sunday. We had to go with the players who were willing to play,”Leuta said.
Asked if it was true that there was factional fighting at Bantu among the management and players, Leuta said this was not the case.
“There are no two camps here. These are just lies being spread by some of our former coaches who just want to tarnish our image as a club,” he said.
Attempts to get Nkulu’s comment and Seema’s side of the story were unsuccessful.