IF the opening matches of the Vodacom Premier League are anything to go by, this season will likely be the tightest in recent times.
While it’s been plain sailing for some teams, Bantu fans are unlikely to be unimpressed by their team’s showing given their travails so far.
The Mafeteng-based outfit went into the FIFA international break this weekend on 12th spot in the 14-team league table, with a single point to show after two matches.
Bantu were hammered 2-0 by LMPS in their opening fixture, before being held to a one-all draw by LDF last weekend.
Unsurprisingly, the lackluster performance has not amused the Bantu faithful, who had higher expectations for a team that finished last season as runners-up to Lioli and clinched the LNIG Top8 trophy.
I must say that the writing was on the wall after the sacking of Motlatsi Shale, and it did not require a rocket scientist to know that this season would be a bumpy ride.
Bantu’s new coach and former Lioli and LCS mentor, Katiso Mojakhomo, will need time to impose his imprint on the team and for players to adapt to his tactics and philosophy.
There is no doubt that Mojakhomo is a good coach and his coaching credentials speaks for themselves.
He won the league title and many other accolades with LCS, and also took the correctional side to third place last season.
Bantu is a big team with a large following, not to mention solid sponsors. I totally understand the fans’ frustration especially given that they bitter rivals, Lioli, are playing well and racking up the points.
However, I think it is too early for the supporters to press the panic button since the transition to a new coach was never going to be easy. The fans should give Mojakhomo a chance and be patient with him just as they did with Shale.
In his first season with Bantu, Shale found the going tough, with three draws in his first matches. Despite the shaky start, he went on to lead the team to its first premiership title.
What Mojakhomo needs is the support of the club’s management, players and supporters. The unconstructive criticism levelled at him is only likely to pile unnecessary pressure on the team.
However, I also think that Mojakhomo needs to do away with his tendency of ejecting senior players.
His rejoining of LCS in the 2013/14 season marked the end of the careers of veteran goalkeeper Kholuoe Phasumane, midfielders Kutloisiso Nthonyana, Ralekoti Katleho Lethabela and striker Thulo Ranchobe at the club.
And now, rumor has it that he is not on good terms with Bantu captain Tlali Maile, with Thabo Masualle set to leave the team.
As much as Mojakhomo is a disciplinarian, I think it is not wise for him to shake up the team considering that it was doing well before his arrival. Instead, he should be working on improving the team’s areas of weakness.
This is where the adage that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies.
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