Li­oli hold cri­sis talks

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Li­oli man­age­ment on Mon­day held a cri­sis meet­ing to dis­cuss the bit­ter fall­out be­tween head-coach Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu ( pic­tured above) and tech­ni­cal direc­tor Hale­makale Mahlaha ( pic­tured be­low).

The bad blood, which club sources say had been sim­mer­ing for weeks, came to a head last week as Mokhothu boy­cotted train­ing in protest over Mahlaha’s “in­ter­fer­ence” in his job.

Af­ter Li­oli lost last week­end’s LNIG Top8 quar­ter­fi­nal, sec­ond leg match against LCS at PTC Ground, club sup­port­ers ran amok as they de­manded the res­ig­na­tion of the en­tire tech­ni­cal team, ar­gu­ing their in­fight­ing was cost­ing the team.

Li­oli have only won one of their last five matches, al­low­ing de­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons Bantu to cut their seven-point lead on the 14-team Pre­mier­ship ta­ble to three, with 10 games to go.

Ac­cord­ing to the fans, they fear should the sta­tus quo re­main, the sit­u­a­tion can only get worse and scup­per the team’s chances of re­claim­ing the league ti­tle they sur­ren­dered to Bantu last sea­son.

Af­ter last week­end’s 1-0 de­feat to LCS ended Li­oli’s chances of re­tain­ing the LNIG Top8 tro­phy, the fans could not hold their anger any­more and protested at the PTC Ground while call­ing for the re­moval of the en­tire tech­ni­cal team.

Li­oli spokesper­son, Moeketsi Pitso, on Tues­day con­firmed the emer­gency meet­ing held in Maseru which he said was also at­tended by Mokhothu, Mahlaha and as­sis­tant coach Tha­bile Secker.

Pitso said: “it’s no longer a se­cret that there was a prob­lem in our tech­ni­cal depart­ment as the coaches con­tin­ued to clash over a num­ber of is­sues. That is why we called yes­ter­day’s meet­ing to hear what ex­actly was go­ing on.

“We have man­aged to re­solve the coaches’ dif­fer­ences and mapped the way for­ward, and one of the res­o­lu­tions was mak­ing each of the coaches un­der­stand his role in the team.”

Pitso added he was con­fi­dent fans would see the Li­oli of old when they face high­fly­ing league rook­ies Lik­ila United this week­end. “Un­der­stand­ably, the sup­port­ers were not happy with the team’s per­for­mance and now that the coaches’ dif­fer­ences have been ad­dressed, we ex­pect to get pos­i­tive re­sults again; we hope to see the old Li­oli again,” said Pitso.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to a club source who spoke to the Le­sotho Times on con­di­tion of anonymity, one of the ma­jor de­ci­sions taken dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing was that Mahlaha, who joined the club in Au­gust last year, would no longer at­tend train­ing ses­sions “on a daily ba­sis”. The tech­ni­cal direc­tor is now only go­ing to meet the coaches to strate­gise for matches and train­ing pro­grammes but would not con­duct train­ing ses­sions or bark in­struc­tions to play­ers from the touch­line on match-day, the source added. Pitso on Tues­day ad­mit­ted the club had to em­pha­sise the need for the three men to stick to their re­spec­tive job-de­scrip­tions.

“it has been made clear that Mokhothu and Secker are in charge of the team, while Mahlaha’s role was also clearly spelt out in yes­ter­day’s meet­ing.

“We have no doubt that things are back to nor­mal now, as the three coaches in­di­cated they fully un­der­stood what was re­quired of them go­ing for­ward.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Mokhothu said he was given a man­date to ful­fil and clearly un­der­stood why he was at the Tey­ateya­neng-based club.

“There isn’t much to say about the whole is­sue, but i think each and ev­ery one of us was given a man­date and should act ac­cord­ingly,” Mokhothu said.

Mahlaha, on the other hand, said the ac­cu­sa­tions against him were base­less.

“i know my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as tech­ni­cal direc­tor, and all these re­ports that i have been in­ter­fer­ing with the coach, are not true at all,” said Mahlaha.

“There is a lot i can say about this is­sue but now is not the right time to do so.”

Li­oli man­age­ment on Mon­day held a cri­sis meet­ing to dis­cuss the bit­ter fall­out be­tween head-coach Mosholu ‘ Shoes’ Mokhothu and tech­ni­cal direc­tor Hale­makale Mahlaha.

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