MASERU — Veteran coach Mahao Matete has been handed the daunting task of turning Matlama’s drifting ship around.
Tse Putsoa this week confirmed that Bomba, as Matete is popularly known, will immediately take full charge of Matlama.
Matete, who was hired by Matlama as technical adviser last month, becomes the third man at the helm after the departure of Ntebele Taole and Mokoena Mohale.
Matlama, league and cup winners and toast of the town just three months ago, are lying in 10th place in the Vodacom Premier League after suffering a demoralising 1-0 defeat to Linare on Sunday.
The defending champions have won only once in their five league matches so far, losing two and drawing as many.
The work is cut out for Matete, who honed his coaching skills with the national team, Likuena, as well as Majantja, LMPS and LCS.
Matlama spokesman Lesolle Phalatsi this week told the Lesotho Times that Matete was the perfect candidate to steer the Glamour Boys to calmer waters.
“We needed a steady hand,” Phalatsi said.
“In any organisation you need a steady hand and in this case it is Ntate Mahao.”
“He knows Matlama inside out and he brings discipline,” he added.
“The politics of Matlama cannot bulldoze him because he has been in Lefa (Lesotho Football Association) for a long time, he coached the national team and he has been in charge of Matlama before.”
Matete takes over amid player unrest and poor form.
Key players Nkau Lerotholi, Lehlohonolo Mokhele, Pali Tšalong and Liteboho Mokhesi are still absconding from club duties because of a dispute over prize money.
There are now rumours that Thapelo Mokhehle and Dlhomo Monapathi, two other key players, have joined the rebellion.
Although Phalatsi was at pains to stress Monapathi was only out because of injury, he admitted the club was battling player disciplinary problems.
“We allowed it to fester instead of putting our foot down,” he said.
“We want somebody who will be firm and tell them: ‘You are players. Your job is to prepare yourselves physically and mentally.’
“We can’t accept players holding the team ransom.”
Phalatsi said the club was going to take action against ill-disciplined players and members.
“We are going to come down very hard on those whether it be card-carrying members or players,” he said.
Phalatsi said players and other club members were being unreasonable to fight over the total of M640 000 that Matlama won as prize money in last season’s competitions.
“According to the laws of Lesotho football we have to get an auditor and next year in February our (financial) report will be there for all to see,” he said.
“We cannot keep explaining ourselves every week a person wants something.
“There are those who don’t have the best interests of Matlama at heart.
“They know the losses the club incurs on a day-to-day basis but they choose to ignore this.
“When I checked recently roughly our income was M490 000, but we spent over M500 000.
“Our plan was that in 24 months we should have a steady stream of income.
“To achieve this we need strategic partnerships such as the one we have with Alliance (Insurance).
“That is in our strategic plan. The players have put that in our hands and we are still on course.”
For now, all eyes will be on Matete when he leads his charges against pacesetters LDF.
Tse Putsoa host Sohle-Sohle at Central Prison on Saturday as renovations to Pitso Ground continue.
LDF are riding high on top of the table on 13 points, already eight points ahead of the champions, and a loss could spell disaster for the blue side of Maseru.