Thursday, May 23, 2024

Letlamoreng ready to lead Police XI into the future

When Police XI head coach Sthando Mogwadi announced his retirement from the game at the end of last season, many thought the executive committee of the law enforcers’ club would search for a more experienced mentor in the country or even outside the borders. Instead, the Jungle Kings surprised many when they appointed Maitumelo ‘Junior’ Letlamoreng as the new boss. To date, many believe the decision is going to backfire in no time because of Letlamoreng’s inexperience. But the top brass at Police headquarters are adamant that they made the right decision and they are ready to take that ‘risk’. Sunday Standard journalist TSHEPO MOLWANE reports.

The announcement that Junior, a former assistant coach at Police XI, has been promoted to the position of head coach raised eyebrows and left many within football circles with mouths agape. But those close to the club say they are not worried about the appointment. Instead they believe that Junior is the right man to take Police XI into the future. Junior was drilled by Mogwadi for close to a decade and some believe it was only natural that the old man would hand the reigns to his prot├®g├® to lead the Jungle Kings into a new era. Letlamoreng will be assisted by Summer Ncube. Upon their return to top flight football, the Jungle Kings finished in position seven last season.

Letlamoreng’s first task would be to improve their log standing and make sure that they finish in a more respectable position next season. It is a difficult job for Junior, especially because he will not be working under the shadow of Mogwadi.

Despite high expectations from those close to the club, the Mahalapye-born driller is not worried about the task that lies ahead. He strongly believes that after spending almost his entire life at Police XI, including as a player and a coach, he is best placed to lead the club to new heights.

Junior retired as a Police XI player in 1996 and later served as a welfare manager. He was part of the club when they won the league title in 2006. It is now his wish to lead Police XI as they gun for another league title and Junior is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

“I am ready for the challenge and I must thank the Police XI management for showing confidence in me. I spent almost two decades at Police XI both as a player and official and I know the culture of the club. The leaders are ambitious and they want people who think along the same lines,” said Letlamoreng.

He expressed confidence that the lessons he learnt under Mogwadi’s leadership will prove useful in future.

“I have learnt a lot from Sthando but obviously I’m going to implement some few changes. The good thing is I have the full backing of management and the technical team. I also know the players and we all respect each other,” he said.

Police XI are already in pre-season training camp at Otse Police College and Letlamoreng has hinted that he needs to make some additions to the squad if they are to compete strongly. Police XI have already let go of Zimbabwean strikers Farasai Nyamunamwendo and Mkhulili Moyo who are believed to have returned to their home country. But Junior is confident that they will be able to sign new strikers before the new season begins.

“The team just needs few additions then I’ll be a happy man,” he said.

Police XI chairman Solomon Mantswe said they decided to appoint Letlamoreng because he has been at the club for a long time and knows the culture. He pointed out that Letlamoreng has what it takes to lead the club.

“He has potential and we’re willing to take the risk with our own coach. When we merged with Wonder Sporting he was leading the First Division log in 2012/13 season and that goes to show his potential. We’ve pledged to give him 100 percent support in order for him to give us the results we want,” said Mantswe.

The Jungle Kings chairman said their target this season is to finish in the top four bracket. He added that it’s an achievable target because Letlamoreng is not new to the system.

“We’re going to bolster our squad in order for us to get the results. If you analyze last season, we created a lot of chances but we failed to finish them off. This has challenged us to search for strikers who would solve that problem and I have no doubt that we’ll get them. We’ve identified players locally and outside but we’ll only be able to divulge their names in the coming week,” said a cagey Mantswe.

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