Hats off to coach Pule
BANTU were finally crowned the Econet Premier League champions last weekend and they were rewarded for their efforts with the M500 000 winners’ cheque.
There was also an icing on the cake for Bantu as they beat Matlama 2-1 in their final at Setsoto Stadium on Saturday.
Football fans came out in their thousands to see whether Bantu would finally receive the league trophy as there were rumours that they might not be crowned champions due to the case that was brought against them by archrivals Lioli over the use of players that were allegedly improperly registered.
Ultimately, Bantu were crowned the champions after winning the league with two matches to spare. It therefore remains for me to congratulate for retaining their crown.
They might as well start the preparations for next season’s continental safari so that they break the jinx of local clubs failing to get past the preliminary stage of the Africa Champions League.
That said, I must now turn my attention to another group of men who deserve special mention too.
Sky Battalion may have been relegated but they deserve praise for the manner in which they soldiered right up to the end without the necessary resources from those who should have provided them.
This team’s status was bought by the National University of Lesotho (NUL) after their own club Rovers was relegated at the end of the 2016/2017 season.
The fact that the deal was finalised very late in June last year meant that there was not enough time to prepare for the new season.
It was clear that the coach would not have enough time with the players to drill them for the new season. It was also too late sign players who could help the team in the just-ended league campaign.
But despite all the adversity, the coach, Pule Khojane ,took the risk and led the team.
Khojane managed to put together a team of 16 players who never gave up and honoured all their 24 league matches.
The NUL management had already decided that it would not fund the team and so it was all left to Khojane to prepare the players and fulfil the fixtures.
Khojane who teaches at the National University of Lesotho International School (NULIS) went as far as sharing his house with some of the players who were no longer students. He even provided them with food to keep them playing for the team.
This shows pure passion, humanity and commitment. It is unfortunate that NUL politics had to affect this team as well as Khojane’s coaching career.
This is the same young coach who helped Sky Battalion to gain promotion three seasons ago before he was ousted by the-then team president Teboho Nzeku at the end of 2015/16 season.
Bravo Khojane and I hope he will be given the chance to coach the team in the A division next season. Hopefully he will guide straight back to the elite league.