Sundawana rule out Shale, Mafoso

Sundawana rule out Shale, Mafoso

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Vodacom Premier League outfit Sundawana have ruled out Motlatsi Shale and Bob Mafoso as candidates for the club’s vacant coaching post.

Sundawana’s denial comes after the duo emerged as favourites to take over from Sidwell Mothea who was sacked last Wednesday after a poor start to the 2016/17 season.

Instead, the ambitious Butha-Buthe team say they have their sights on a Ghanaian coach and an unnamed local.

Shale resigned from premiership strugglers Linare last week and is free to join any club while ‘Tse Bo Yellow’ continue to be linked with former boss Mafoso who is now an assistant coach at Bantu.

However, speaking to thepost on Tuesday, Sundawana general manager Tloaelo Mapena poured cold water on rumours related to the duo and said the club is in advanced negotiations with two coaches, one Ghanaian and one local.

An upbeat Mapena added that if all goes to plan, a new coach would be on the sidelines when Sundawana tackle Lioli in the Independence Cup on Saturday at Setsoto Stadium.

“We are in talks with two coaches. One is a local coach but let me make it clear that it is not Shale,” Mapena insisted.

“I have heard people saying that we are in talks with Shale. It’s not him but I cannot name who the coach is at this stage. Another candidate that we are in talks with is a Ghanaian coach. We will see who will take over and there might be a surprise this weekend. The new coach might be on the bench against Lioli if all goes according to plan.”

Mapena also ruled out a return for fan favourite Mafoso who masterminded the club’s surprise top four finish in the league last season, the first in the club’s history, before departing to Mafeteng at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

Mapena called Mafoso rejoining Sundawana “impossible”.

“He is Bantu’s assistant coach, isn’t he?” he added.

“(Mafoso) is someone that we do talk to personally but he is not the person we are in talks with. The person we are talking to is currently unattached to any team in the country.”

Sundawana’s coaching search comes after they dismissed Mothea last week just six games into the season. Mapena claimed the parting was amicable saying both sides understood results were not forthcoming.

“We sat down with the coach after the first three matches and told him that we were not happy with the performance of the team,” he said.

“We decided to give him three more games to improve but it didn’t happen, therefore, we decided to let him go after six games.”

Despite their struggles, Mapena stressed the club’s poor form was just a phase.

Sundawana only managed their first win of the league campaign on Sunday, a 3-2 win over Liphakoe. They lie tenth in the Vodacom Premier League with just six points from seven games, closer to the relegation zone than to Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) above them in ninth.

Analysing Sundawana’s start to the campaign, Mapena admitted the departure of striker Roboama Koloti to Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) has left a huge void.

The Lesotho Under-20 international, nicknamed Maseana, top scored for the club last season with 13 goals but was prized away with a job offer from LMPS last month. Sundawana have struggled to score goals as a result and have found the net just six times in seven outings.

‘Tse Bo Yellow’ have also missed the services of Lesotho international defender Motlemelo Mkhwanazi who has been AWOL since the start of the campaign.

Mapena emphasised the pair’s absence and also lamented the departure of Ghana midfielder Michael Mireku to Matlama.

“One player that left a huge void, especially in our defence, is Motlomelo Mkhwanazi who just disappeared into thin air. We have only heard that he is now a tycoon in Maputsoe. We don’t know what is going on with him. We also miss ‘Masaena’ now that he is at LMPS. We also lost Michael Mireku who was playing regularly,” Mapena explained.

Mapena claimed it was normal for Mkhwanazi to disappear from the club but vowed not to give up on the player.

He said Lesotho national coach Moses Maliehe had also failed to reach Mkhwanazi ahead of a Likuena camp last month.

“We cannot let such talent go to waste,” Mapena said.

“Mos (Maliehe) has also been looking for him and we just told him that he disappeared.”

He added: “You know Mkhwanazi always does this. I worked with him at Matlama and he disappeared, he then went to Lioli and disappeared again. But we heard that he still wants to come back to the club.”

Sundawana are under the caretaker guidance of Khathatso Sekonyela and Mapena said ‘Tse Bo Yellow’ have full confidence they can turn things around.

He said everyone at the club is working hard to return to top form and warned Lioli to expect a tough afternoon when the teams open this year’s Independence Cup on Saturday.

“The performance we saw last week (against Liphakoe) is the performance that the players put in last season which is why we are confident that we are coming back to our old performance,” Mapena asserted.

“This weekend against Lioli we will be playing our normal football. If Lioli think they will beat us again this weekend, they will have to think again. They have turned us into their daily bread and we are not.”

Meanwhile, approached for comment on Tuesday, Shale confirmed no local team has shown interest in his services after his departure from Linare.

He said he is planning a sabbatical from football.

“For now I am resting and taking a break. I will think about whether I still want to return to football or not. And no, no local team has shown any interest in working with me,” Shale told thepost.

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