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Bantu appoints former Kaizer Chiefs coach

Chris Theko

Defending Vodacom Premier League (VPL) Champions Bantu announced the appointment of Thabo Tsutsulupa to take over the role of head coach in the club until the end of the season with an option of renewal by the start of the new season. 

The announcement follows the departure of head coach Bob Mafoso who decided to leave the club at the end of his contract late last year.

Mafoso’s contract expired at the end of August 2021 and negotiations had been ongoing since. However, both parties could not reach an agreement on the renewal of his contract.

“Bantu parted ways with Coach Bob Mafoso after failed negotiations on renewal of his contract. The club was more than eager and curious on continuing with his services hence we had prolonged and patient negotiations with him,” reads part of the club’s statement released on Tuesday.

In the statement, the team lauds Mafoso for his contributions towards the team’s success and thanked him for his services.  

On Wednesday night, the club announced that the management had appointed former Kaizer Chiefs (of South Africa) development and Liphakoe coach, Tsutsulupa until the end of the season.

“Bantu is glad to announce that South African Coach Thabo Tsutsulupa will lead the team as the head coach for the remainder of the season,” the club said on their Facebook page. 

Meanwhile, Bantu General Manager Poosela Pule told Newsday Sport in an interview yesterday that they had to act swiftly to fill the gap that had been left by their coach. 

“The club had to act quickly to fill the position and the process started earlier when we realized that our coach was adamant to leave,” said Pule. 

Pule said the club does not stand in the way of anyone who wants to leave the club for greener pastures, be it players, technical team or the management hence they tried all they could to negotiate Mafoso to stay but noticed that he was adamant to leave. 

“We wanted to keep the services of coach Mafoso but that was taking forever and he seemed sure that he wanted to leave.  After his contract ended while negotiations were ongoing other teams became aware and approached him so we don’t know what they offered him,” Pule said.     

This is the second time Mafoso leaves Bantu. He left his role as assistant coach to then head Coach James Madidilane in 2018 and joined Kick4life (K4L) as assistant to Leslie Notši. However, he was soon the man at the helm of K4L after Notši’s sudden departure to become the Lesotho Football Association’s Technical Director. 

That stint as head coach of K4L only lasted a year as Mafoso returned to Bantu after Madidilane left his role at the club to pursue a coaching job in South Africa. This time around Mafoso was appointed head coach with Teboho Tšiu his assistant. 

The duo led Bantu to two league titles, first round of the Confederations of African Football (CAF) champion’s league in 2018 and preliminary round in 2020.      

Tšiu had also left the team at the end of his contract in August 2021. Tšiu opted not to renew his contract having secured a head coaching job at the ABC Motsepe league side Excelsior United based in the Free State province, South Africa.

Any of the coach roped in by Bantu will have a lot to do in the quest for the team to defend their title. ‘A Matšo matebele’ currently sits on second position behind Matlama in the VPL.  They have secured 37 points from 16 games played so far with 12 wins, one draw and three loses, which is seven points behind first-placed Matlama of Maseru who have 44 points from 18 encounters. 

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