WHEN Mosito Matela left LMPS at the beginning of the Econet Premier League season to join Matlama, the move was viewed as career suicide.
The move came after the police outfit struggled to finish in a respectable position in the league and Carragher, as Matela is commonly referred to, decided to join a club that was destined to participate in the elite LNIG Top8.
When he joined LMPS from Bantu where he was technical director in 2015, Matela found Simunye an ordinary team perennially fighting relegation and he slowly turned them into a formidable force.
Most people thought his decision to leave LMPS, including myself, was ill-conceived because of the pressure at Matlama, what with their unruly supporters and unstable management.
He joined Tse Putsoa after they had lost one, drawn one and won one of the three matches of their opening fixtures against Liphakoe, Linare and Sky Battalion respectively under Seephephe Matete’s mentorship.
In his first match Matela played a goalless draw against Likhopo who failed to convert two penalties in the match.
He struggled to find combinations, making changes at a time that the supporters were already agitated. This was especially worsened by the departure of fan favourite, Tšeliso Ramathe, who joined Lioli in January when he lost his regular place in the squad.
Fast forward to now, Matlama are sitting in second place on the standings of the 13-Team Econet Premier League table and are trailing Bantu by four points, although the defending champions still have two matches in hand.
Matela has proved his abilities as a coach and has surely stamped his authority as one of the best in the country after helping LMPS to finish in the top eight last year and has now taken Matlama from just being a mid-table team to title contenders.
Given how unstable Matlama management has been in the past seasons, it made sense that many people were worried that Matela was living LMPS for a team that was always in the papers for the wrong reasons.
He, at one point, had to deal with players boycotting training sessions demanding their monthly allowances, but it looks like he has done the trick.
Even today, Matlama still has administrative problems but Matela has managed to keep the team afloat and the players motivated despite the rumors also that the technical team has not received their February allowances.
Yet, under such circumstances the former Matlama midfielder’s ability to keep his charges together and focused on the job at hand which is playing football should be commended.
Whoever thought that Matlama would be sitting in an enviable position after finishing seventh in the previous season with their team still intact?
Matela has really humbled his critics, especially those that have made a song of his lack of the CAF B coaching license.