Mahlaha set to pen new deal

Mahlaha set to pen new deal

Maseru– Halemakale Mahlaha is set to pen a new deal to keep him as Lioli coach, the club has confirmed.
The development ends weeks of uncertainty over Lioli’s head coaching role and, in another technical move, five-time league winner Mosholi Mokhothu will be Mahlaha’s full time assistant coach for the 2017/18 season.

‘Tse Nala’ communication and marketing manager, Tšeliso Lerata, made the announcement in an interview with thepost on Tuesday but he refused to disclose the length of Mahlaha’s new contract. Sources, however, say it is for two years. Mahlaha’s future with Lioli had become the subject of mounting speculation in recent weeks with reports linking him with a move away from Teyateyaneng, possibly to Matlama.

The former Lesotho youth boss replaced Mokhothu as coach last August on a one-year deal and led Lioli to the Independence Cup and Lesotho National Insurance Group Top 8 glory but, crucially, was unable to guide Lioli to the league title, losing out to rivals Bantu.
The failure robbed the Teyateyaneng giants of becoming only the second team after Lesotho Defence Force — 1997 to 1999 — to win three league titles in a row and it was also reported that club supporters were unhappy with the side’s style of play under Mahlaha.

Lerata, however, poured cold water on those suggestions and insisted Mahlaha is the right man to lead Lioli.
“(Mahlaha) will continue this season as the head coach and he will be working with Ntate Mokhothu as his assistant. Unfortunately, I will not be able to disclose the length of his contract,” he said. With Mahlaha set to be tied down to a new deal, Lioli are shifting their focus to finding a new technical director, a role that was held by Mokhothu last season.

Lerata said ‘Tse Nala’ are casting their net far and wide and are looking for a candidate from outside the country.
Lerata explained that Lioli want to reclaim their position as Lesotho’s top team and hope to hire an experienced candidate who will help build a formidable side.

“The only thing we are left with at the moment to complete our technical team is hiring the technical director and we are already in negotiations with two people,” he revealed. “I can assure you that we want someone from outside the country because we want to build a strong team.”
‘Tse Nala’ are due to report back for preseason training next week and the club hopes to have made progress towards hiring a technical director by then.

For now, though, no players have left or joined the club, Lerata confirmed.
Lerata, however, revealed Lioli have already earmarked a list of signings they believe can improve the team and, in their bid to regain their league crown, he said ‘Tse Nala’ are looking to play a series of pre-season games outside Lesotho before the 2017/18 campaign kicks off in August.
“The boys are coming back for preseason training in the first week of July and we haven’t released anyone,” Lerata said.
“We can only release players after signing new ones; we already have a list of players we want to sign.”

He added: “Another thing, though it’s not finalised, is that we are looking to go outside the country for at least a week to play friendly matches just like how all the other big teams do.”

Luciah Phahla

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