Extension Gunners’ chairman, William Maboane, has said that his executive committee is satisfied with the progress head coach China Matlhaku is making at the club.
This comes after reports that Mapantsula intended to part ways with the former national Under-20 coach.
Matlhaku, who joined Mapantsula from Lobatse Stars at the beginning of the season, has experienced mixed fortunes since arriving at the Lobatse giants. But it was at the end of November when some of the supporters started questioning his tactical and technical ability.
This was after Gunners suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Township Rollers at Lobatse Stadium on November 24. Some supporters felt that Matlhaku freezes when it comes to big games as evidenced in their losses to Gaborone United, ECCO City Greens and Rollers. ┬á
But it seems Matlhaku has temporarily won the hearts of the Gunners’ hot heads after winning three of the five games they played in December.
“Let me make it clear that we’ve got confidence in the coach. We believe that he is the man who will take us forward. He has been professional enough ever since arriving at the club and what needs to be done is to give him our support,” said Maboane on Friday after the club reported back from Christmas break. He pointed out that when Gunners suffered heavy defeats to Rollers, ECCO and Nico United, there were internal problems within the club which they needed to sort out.
“The coach alone cannot get the stick for those embarrassing defeats. As the management we need to own up where we erred. That is why we remained focused despite calls by some quarters to fire the coach,” Gunners’ boss added.
Mapantsula went to the Christmas break in the top eight bracket and Maboane said that their plan is to remain there come the end of the season. He said that when they employed Matlhaku, he was tasked with qualifying the team for the Top 8 competition. “He (Matlhaku) is an ambitious man and believes that if they continue pushing, we can even get to the top four bracket. He believes in the team we have and I want to call on the supporters to have patience. The future looks bright under his mentorship,” he said. Maboane pointed out that currently their main challenge is their poor financial status. Their situation governs the club to beef up the current squad with quality which can ensure that the coach’s dreams are met.
“We’re struggling to make ends meet. What is important at the moment is to ensure that we hold onto the squad we have this season,” he said.
It is understood that Gunners are likely to lose defender Desire Bafana and goalkeeper Takudzwa Ndoro to cross town rivals BMC.
Meanwhile, Maboane did not want to reveal the reasons which have led to the club to part ways with assistant coach Nelson Olebile. He was relieved of his duties in December after some internal findings.
It is said that Olebile has since taken the club to the Industrial Court over unpaid wages.
“It is true that we are no longer with Nelson but I’m not in a position to tell you the reasons which led to our separation. We still have to meet with him and discuss the way forward. Gunners developed Nelson and it will be suicidal for us to let him go to another team,” said Maboane. In the interim, goalkeeper coach Joel Chonga would double as an assistant to Matlhaku.
Gunners have further revealed that seven players have been put on transfer namely, Mollen Mabe, Patrick Kaunda, Kenny Ramodisa, Mompati Bedi, Motseoatile Elijah, Maano Letsweletse and Tshireletso Salejoma. In a bid to strengthen their squad, Gunners are chasing the services of Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ duo of Elijah Montsho and Maikano Maikano, Miscellaneous’ goalkeeper Ontiretse Gaotlhobogwe and Gofaone Molapi.