Dream technical  team for Kick4Life

Dream technical team for Kick4Life

Maseru – Last week Kick4Life claimed they want to become a “winning club” and on Monday they proved it by confirming the capture of Bob Mafoso from champions Bantu. Mafoso joins the Old Europa outfit as Leslie Notsi’s assistant coach in what appears a dream technical team. Mafoso’s addition, which has been rumoured since the Econet Premier League season ended last month, is a major coup for Kick4Life with Lioli having also had a reported interest in his services.

Mafoso is one of Lesotho’s hottest coaching properties and has compiled an impressive résumé since breaking into the elite league four years ago. Having cut his teeth in Butha-Buthe’s lower leagues, he led Likila United to an improbable sixth place finish in the 2014/15 league season in what was the side’s debut premiership campaign and after Mafoso moved on, Likila were promptly relegated the following year.

He joined neighbours Sundawana in 2015 and then masterminded a fourth place berth for ‘Tse Bo Yellow’ in the 2015/16 premiership season which is widely recognised as one the league’s most impressive feats of the past decade before joining Bantu in 2016 to become assistant coach to James Madidilane. In Mafeteng, Mafoso – who is known for his tactical savvy and rapport with players – helped ‘A Matšo Matebele’ dominate on the field with two league titles and an Independence Cup crown before his two-year contract came to end this month.

Kick4Life football director Chris Bullock, unsurprisingly, is thrilled with his addition. Just a few months ago in December, Mafoso teamed up with Notši to inspire Lesotho to second place at the COSAFA Under-20 Championships in Zambia – another sign of his skill and growing reputation. “We are delighted that Bob Mafoso has joined Kick4Life as an assistant coach to the current coach Leslie Notši,” Bullock said.

“Obviously it is a big coup for us to have a coach with such a good record in our technical team,” he added. “He has achieved a lot in a short coaching career in the Premier League as well as working with the national Under-20 team.” Last month, Kick4Life ended the Econet Premier League season in sixth place after coming fourth in 2017, a disappointment that clearly served as motivation. Speaking at the club’s end of season awards, Bullock said Kick4Life were “ready to make the next step on and off the field to become a winning team next season.”

That next season will only be Kick4Life’s fifth in the top-flight but club officials feel the time is right to make a move on the big boys while many outside the club believe Kick4Life – with their top notch administration and top-class facilities – can be the team to break the on-going hegemony of Bantu and Lioli. Adding a coach of Mafoso’s calibre is the first step. “When I first heard about Bob he was at Sundawana,” Bullock said. “After that he had two years of great success working with the technical team of Bantu Football Club so we know that Bob brings a wealth of experience and success here.

“It is very exciting to have someone of his calibre working with us moving forward,” he continued. “We know that (Mafoso) and Leslie worked together very well with the national Under-20 (team) and I am sure many will agree it’s an exciting team.” For his part, Mafoso said he is happy to join one of the fastest growing brands in the country. The club’s rise and opportunity to work with Notši proved too good to turn down even though he could easily have been a head coach elsewhere. “There is still a long way ahead of me,” Mafoso said. “I have got age on my side and there is still a lot to learn. I am happy I came to a football club that I feel in no time it will be a force in this country, I am happy I am joining Kick4Life.”

Signing Mafoso, of course, will also come in handy during the off-season transfer market when Kick4Life look to add quality players and take the next step towards challenging for silverware. Similarly, contract talks with stars as Bokang Mothoana, Thabo Masualle and Likano Teele will be smoothed by the ambitious move. Last week, for example, 2017/18 Econet Premier League top scorer Nkoto Masoabi signed a new contract with the side citing the prevailing feeling at the club that Kick4Life are on an upward trajectory. Mafoso certainly arrives decorated from Mafeteng with back-to-back league titles and last October’s Independence Cup.

“I will forever be grateful to Bantu and the opportunity they gave me to work with their team but it was not a difficult decision to (join Kick4Life),” the Butha-Buthe native said. “(At Bantu) I was working with a coach who was the same age as me, with maybe the same experience. I have learned a lot from (Madidilane) but I am coming here to work with someone who has been in the game since the early (1990s).” Mafoso added: “I think if you talk of knowledge and experience (Notši) is the right person to work with. One could say it is difficult to leave a (Bantu) team that is winning but I believe in my abilities. I feel I will add value to a team that is already doing well and has achieved a lot of things.”

Mafoso praised Notši’s “strong character” and “ability to deal with situations in a calm manner.” Those are some of the traits he hopes to absorb from the former Lesotho mentor. “I feel one mistake most of us coaches make is that when our teams are doing well we tend to think it’s only because of us but knowledge and being in the game longer will teach you that it wasn’t just about you as the coach, (success) involves a lot of factors,” Mafoso said. “In my case I am coming to work with someone who has been burned, who has been happy, who has been hurt by the sport.

Maybe I haven’t been hurt in my short coaching career; I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want to be burned but I am saying I am going to work with someone who is going to show me the way,” he said. Mafoso’s appointment also comes with a stamp of approval from Notši, Bullock said. The two were in agreement – Mafoso will improve Kick4Life. “It’s something me and Leslie have been discussing, we were aware that Bob’s spell at Bantu was coming to the end,” Bullock said.

“As always, it is the coach’s decision who to bring to work with him not mine, but I think we both agreed that Bob will be an excellent addition to what we already have. We already have a strong technical team, Bob will bring something extra.”

Luciah Phahla

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