Madidilane assumes Bantu hot-seat

Madidilane assumes Bantu hot-seat

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Bantu vice-president Molefi Lengosane has hailed the historic appointment of South African James Madidilane as coach of the Vodacom Premier League giants.

Bantu’s interest in Madidilane was first reported by thepost three weeks ago and Lengosane said Madidilane’s work with the development side of South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Bloemfontein Celtic’s speaks for itself.

The former South Africa Under-23 international was unveiled on Monday in Mafeteng and he becomes the first foreign coach to take charge of a local premiership club.

“He did well where he was previously and he is a peaceful person,” Lengosane told thepost on Tuesday. “He doesn’t drink and his job with Celtic’s development side impressed us.”

Madidilane takes over from Bafokeng Mohapi who was sacked last month with his entire technical team after a poor 2015/16 season. He will be assisted by former Sundawana coach Bob Mafoso who was also unveiled on Monday.

Bantu said Mohapi failed to achieve his mandate of defending the club’s Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 title and making the league’s top four. Instead, ‘A Matšo Matebele’ ended last season in seventh position and missed out on a top four spot for the first time in five years.

As a player, Madidilane turned for the likes of Bloemfontein Celtic, Maritzburg United as well as the National First Division (NFD) side Rose United and Lengosane said Bantu have been following his progress.

Commenting on Madidilane’s lack of knowledge of Lesotho football, Lengosane said with the right players it will not be a problem.

He explained that Madidilane’s work with Celtic’s development side meant he is qualified to handle a demanding club such as Bantu.

“It’s hard to coach development players and he did well with Celtic’s development team. He knows football and no doubt he can coach in the premier league. It’s not about whether you know the league. If you have a (good) team then you can do well,” Lengosane said.

Lengosane expressed confidence Bantu’s new coaching brains would assist each other. Mafoso, who resigned as Sundawana coach last Friday, is highly regarded after a successful two-year run in the Vodacom Premier League.

“Assistant coach Bob Mafoso knows the Lesotho league, he knows the players here, he is also a good person. He took Likila United to the top eight (in 2015) and last season took Sundawana into the top four,” Lengosane said.

A pleased Lengosane added that the decision to appoint Madidilane was thoroughly deliberated by Bantu’s executive committee as it is looking to return the Mafeteng giants to championship contention.

Bantu won the league title in 2014 and finished in the top two in 2013, 2014 and 2015. ‘A Matšo Matebele’ also won the Independence Cup in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 as well as the club the LNIG Top 8 last year.

Lengosane said the club wants to get back to the top.

Madidilane’s mandate, therefore, is simple.

“We thought about it deeply and at length,” Lengosane said. “Bantu needs to go back to where it belongs and his mandate is simple: to win games and cups, to bring back the glory days to the club.”

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