MASERU — Vodacom Premier League champions Matlama have suspended head coach Ntebele Taole from duty, just two weeks before the onset of the new season.
The club has not said why the coach was suspended.
Only a few weeks ago Matlama announced Taole, 57, would remain the club’s head coach following speculation his days at Tse Putsoa were numbered.
Taole, affectionately known as Tata, has however claimed he was asked to step aside for allegedly sending away a player the club wanted to sign on Wednesday.
The player, Khotso Moketa, was playing for second division side Liphakoe last season.
Taole claims a senior Matlama official had, without consulting him, instructed Moketa to join the team’s training session on Wednesday.
Taole says he was not amused with the development.
So when Moketa turned up for training, Taole sent him away.
“Yes it is true that I’ve been suspended after I chased away a player who showed up during our training session,” Taole told the Sunday Express.
“I wanted him to go and bring along the person who told him to join the team.
“The management was hurt by my decision to chase him away.”
Taole has vowed he will do everything possible to block Moketa from joining Tse Putsoa because of his “lack of discipline”.
He said he was annoyed by Moketa’s conduct when he initially tried to join Matlama at the start of last season.
Taole alleged that Moketa had demanded “payment” when other players at the club got nothing.
“Khotso Moketa is a small boy and I cannot allow him to be part of the team because of his indiscipline,” he said.
“For example, he had the guts to come here demanding to be paid on his first day.
“How can I pay a small boy like him when I am failing to pay big players in our team?”
Matlama spokesman Lesolle Phalatsi on Friday confirmed Taole’s suspension but would not go into details.
“Yes, it is true that he was suspended but I do not think I have the authority to discuss the reasons for his suspension with you,” Phalatsi said.
He said the date for Taole’s hearing was likely to be decided this weekend.
“The hearing is going to be very soon because the committee is meeting this weekend to discuss his counts and set a hearing date,” Phalatsi said.
The development comes at a time Matlama are expected to be gearing up for the defence of their premiership title.
Taole’s future with Matlama was first cast in doubt when the club announced at the end of last season that it would shake up its technical department.
The veteran gaffer’s tactics were increasingly put under the spotlight as the Glamour Boys struggled to wrap up the league championship.
Matlama failed to win any of their last four league games and only clinched the title after their nearest rivals, Lioli, faltered.