LEGENDARY former Lesotho international and Bloemfontein Celtic interim coach, Lehlohonolo Seema says he is not in a hurry to become head coach, adding he would be happy to remain an assistant if the South African premiership side opt for a more experienced gaffer.
Seema helped Celtic survive relegation in the just ended season but was quick to point to the Lesotho Times this week that this feat did not mean that he had completed his learning experience.
“First of all I want to thank the management of the club for giving me such a big responsibility and for the supporters who stood by me during a difficult time when we were playing for survival,” Seema said.
““I was given the mandate to save the team from relegation and was able to do that. It was a humbling experience which really helped me to grow but there is still room for improvement.”
He said everyone at the club was relieved that the team would continue playing at the highest level, adding despite his achievement, the team “has my support in looking for a new coach and I have told them that I would be happy to work under any coach that they want”.
“I’m there to assist them while they continue to look for someone and they know that the team is in safe hands.
“But at the same time, if they are happy with my work as the coach, then I will soldier on into the new season,” he said.
Seema, who has also been selected among Southern African legends to serve at the 2017 edition of the Council of Southern Africa Football of Associations (COSAFA Cup) as one of the ambassadors alongside the likes of Brain Baloyi of South Africa, Manuel ‘Tico Tico’ Bucuane, Tinashe Nengomasha, said he was proud to represent his country at the regional competition.
“I am very humbled to have been selected among legends from our region to represent my country at the tournament,” the legendary defender said.
“I’m a product of this country and I’m grateful to COSAFA and the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) who gave me the platform to represent my country from the under-20 national team through to Likuena.
“I will be in the country soon to promote the tournament and I will also select a five-aside team that will represent Lesotho in Rustenburg at the same time as Likuena.
“It does not necessarily have to be made of professional players. It is open to any Mosotho that has the skill to play football competitively.”
Seema also took time to answer to critics who have accused him of failing to do enough to help Lesotho players secure contracts in South Africa.
“I was given a chance by the late Ntate April ‘Styles’ Phumo who alerted Celtic by giving them videos of me in action as well as inviting them to come and watch me play.
“So who am I not to do the same for the current crop of players?
“I know I have been heavily criticised for that but people need to understand that for the past years, I worked as the assistant coach which meant that I had little say as to who comes in and out of the team.
“They also need to understand that there was a time when the standards of football had dropped in our country and it was very difficult to bring in players.
“You also have to consider a lot of things such as the position of a player that you want to bring in. If you bring in a striker, he should be better than what you already have.
“Despite all that, I’m confident the doors will open for our players to play in South Africa.”
He said he would do his best to assist Kick4Life striker Thabiso Brown who he recommended for trails at Celtic during the pre-season.
“I watched Brown a few times and also consulted my colleagues in Lesotho for their assessment and we know that he deserves a chance because he works hard.
“I will do my best to help him when he comes but I told him that he will have to work hard to impress the people who will be assessing him.
“Though people feel I took time to take one of our players for trials this side I knew it would happen because the time is right.
“The standards of football have improved immensely in Lesotho and Likuena will start the COSAFA Cup at the quarterfinals stage after performing well at the last edition.
“Credit goes to coach Moses Maliehe, his assistant Mpitsa Marai and the rest of the technical team. I am proud of the team and the country and I hope they continue to do us proud,” he said.