Sunday, May 28, 2023
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Maseru

Lioli coach is no more

Business

Chris Theko

On Sunday Lioli FC announced the untimely death of their head coach Thomas Tshabalala who breathed his last after a short flue illness at the Berea Hospital.

Tshabalala took over the reins at Lioli before the start of the 2020/2021 season shortly after his departure from Lifofane. 

Tse-Nala have already made contact with the family of the South African-born coach, who had a short stint in charge of Lifofane FC last season.

“The board of directors of Lioli FC regrets to announce the passing on of our head coach Mr Thomas Tshabalala today in the morning (Sunday),” the club said in a statement.

The team added “He had been unwell for the last week and was admitted at the Berea Hospital after complaining of flu. The Lioli family has been in contact with his family and will release further details once we have engaged with the family.

“We sent our heartfelt condolences to his family and the football fraternity at large. Rest in peace Coach.”

Meanwhile, the soccer governing body Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has also joined the masses in mourning Tshabalala’s passing, who according to the association also received his coaching badges in Lesotho.

“LeFA has learnt with shock and disbelief about the passing away of Lioli head coach-Mr Thomas Tshabalala after a short illness. Mr Tshabalala is among several South African born coaches trained by LeFA and our football will be poorer without his expertise and charisma, which he proved in his short spell in charge of Lioli during the 2020/2021 season,” LeFA said.

“LeFA president Advocate Salemane Phafane KC on behalf of the football fraternity, would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to Lioli, the Tshabalala family and the entire football family,” the statement said.

Lioli’s bitter rivals Bantu also issued a statement on Sunday to console Tse-Nala on the loss of their coach.

Tshabalala, 57, replaced fellow South African citizen, Morena Ramoreboli when he joined Lioli at the beginning of the 2020/21 season after parting ways with Lifofane FC.

The President of Lioli Lebohang Thontanyana said this is a huge loss not only to Lioli but the entire football fraternity.

“The passing of our club’s head coach is a big blow to us as Lioli and the entire family of football in Lesotho and Southern Africa as he was an import from South Africa,” Thotanyana said.

“He was someone who was already on course to bring back the glory days of Tse Nala, death is really not proud” he lamented.

Since taking over at Lioli, Tshabalala had overseen three matches in the Vodacom Premier League with the fourth one against his former club Lifofane being suspended due to heavy rainfall.

He won 2-0 away against Linare in the league opener, secured a 4-0 win against CCX at home and lost one away match 1-2 to Lijabatho. 000

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