Lioli boss backs Mahlaha

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Mikia Kalati

DETHRONED former Vodacom Premier League champions, Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana has rubbished rumours that the club will sack coach Halemakale Mahlaha for failing to defend the title.

Tse Nala who had made the title their own over the last two seasons, surrendered it to Bantu on Saturday despite winning 2-0 against Sky Battalion.

They finished second to the Mafeteng club who beat Kick4Life 3-0 to take their points tally to an unassailable 61 while Lioli could only manage 59.

And the final day surrender had fuelled speculations that the club could ditch Mahlaha for failing to retain the prized trophy.

However, Thotanyana said there was no truth in those reports, adding they were still to meet after the season ended on Saturday.

“Our mandate for him was to win two trophies which he did and it would not make sense to sack him,” Thotanyana said.

“It is true that the league title was our first prize, but I think overall he fulfilled our objectives.”

Thotanyana, who is also the minister of mining in the outgoing government, said he club will have their usual end of season review meeting with the coaches and players.

“This is a meeting where the coaches will present their review and assessment reports of the season and it’s only then that we will act based on what they have tabled.

“But I must make it clear that we always meet with them to understand their plans and everything that is happening in the team.

“It is after this meeting that we will know about what needs to be done for the team to be a force to be reckoned with again.

“This is where we discuss whether we need reinforcements and I also meet with the players’ one on one to hear their views.”

The Lioli boss who has enjoyed a lot of success since taking over as club president also admitted that they could lose star forward Tšepo Seturumane to LMPS next season.

Seturumane, who made a name for himself coming through Tse Nala ranks, is employed by LMPS and had a stint with the police side during the 2015/16 season.

Lioli have also lost Basia Makepe who is also a police officer and now turns out for the LMPS outfit.

“There is something regarding Seturumane going back to LMPS but there are a lot of dynamics in the matter and we will still have to sit down and talk with them.”

He however, said Lioli should have done better, given the calibre of players and coaches at their disposal.

“But as the president of the club, I’m satisfied with the Independence and LNIG Top 8 trophies that we won.

“I don’t have a reason to complain because I’m probably the most decorated president in the history of the club and football in the country.

“No team has achieved as much as Lioli under the leadership of one man. Since 2010, it has been winning the title or in second place and because of that, we understand that people expect more from this team.

“We could have taken more than two trophies but we are happy for Bantu and it was a lesson learnt on our side,” he noted.

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