Bantu coach vows to restore glamour
MAFETENG — Newly appointed Bantu coach, Tsatsi James Madidilane, says he welcomes his first coaching job in Lesotho “with both hands”.
The 30-year-old South African and his assistant Bob Mafoso were unveiled as A Matšo Matebele coaches on Monday this week after signing one-year performance-based contracts. Madidilane, who played for Bloemfontein Celtic, Thanda Royal Zulu and Maritzburg as a defender between 2007 and 2011, told the Lesotho Times soon after Monday’s unveiling ceremony that he joined Bantu because he believed in the club’s potential.
“I am glad Bantu gave me this chance and I am also happy with the confidence the management has shown in me and my assistant, Bob. We are aware the team didn’t perform well last season but I accepted the offer because I believe in this team and I am very hopeful that we can turn things around here,” Madidilane said.
Ntate Moruti, as Madidilane is famously known in football circles, said he also accepted the offer because he needed to grow as a coach.
“I have worked with a number of teams in the South African lower leagues — the likes of Roses United and Celtic’s development side — so this is also a chance for me to grow as a coach. I don’t know much about the Lesotho premier league but one thing I have seen is there is fierce competition here and I think that will help me get better as a coach.”
Madidilane said the first issue to be addressed was instilling confidence in the players.
“Like I said, we are aware the team didn’t do well last season so obviously, the players’ confidence is low and that’s one of the things we should start working on when we open for pre-season training on Monday next week,” he said.
Asked if he was not worried about the age-difference between him and the players some of whom are even older than him, Madidilane said this was not an issue.
“I have worked with old and very experienced players before — the likes of former Uganda goalkeeper Postnet Omony. So this doesn’t worry me at all. But one thing I must say is I was not called Ntate Moruti for nothing. To me, discipline comes first for every player. The players should understand that they are not doing us any favour but themselves because it is only if they work hard that they may end up in the national team.
“I want players who are prepared to work hard and if not, it’s unfortunate because such players will watch from the stands,” said Madidilane.
“In at least five matches we are going to play, we must collect a minimum of 10 points. That’s how I want us to work with the team then we will see where that leaves us at the end of the season.”
On his part, Mafoso, who was coaching Sundawana last season, thanked the Bantu supporters for their warm welcome and said it was only with their help that they can revive the team.
“It was not an easy decision to make but I believe it is good for me as I will be learning many things here because Bantu are a big team with lots of supporters. I would like to thank the fans for the warm welcome we received today. It is with their support that we can help this team get back where it used to be,” Mafoso said.
Bantu president Leuta Leuta explained why the club management decided to engage the two coaches.
“We are a big brand with many sponsors and to keep them, we need to win titles. That is why we decided to hire these two gentlemen because they are big coaches we believe can help this team return to its glory days,” Leuta said.
Leuta also said they were helped by Bloemfontein Celtic to get Madidilane through the Memorandum of Understanding they signed last season.
“We have a signed agreement with Celtic which says our clubs will work together and Madidilane’s move is the first of many great things to come out of it because he was still their development team coach,” he said.
“We brought in Bob to help him because we are aware he is not familiar with how things are done in our league so we also had to look for a good coach who can work with him.”
FROM left: Bantu vice-president Molefi Lengoasana, assistant coach Bob Mafoso, president Leuta Leuta and newly-appointed coach Tsatsi James Madidilane.