After almost five months on the sidelines since he was controversially sent packing by Township Rollers where he worked as a goalkeeper trainer since 2008, Thabo ‘Mahala’ Motang has resurfaced at struggling Lobatse giants Extension Gunners where he has been appointed an assistant coach until the end of the 2013/14 Premier League season.
Motang began training with the club on Tuesday following the resignation of head coach Odirile Matlhaku.
Though he has been appointed the assistant coach, Motang has been performing the duties of the head coach as Gunners’ officials are still trying to find Matlhaku’s replacement.
The former Zebras’ goalkeeper is expected to be calling the shots on the bench when Mapantsula face Nico United in the Mascom Top 8 second quarterfinal at Selebi-Phikwe Stadium this afternoon.
Motang’s appointment came as a shock to many football pundits in the past week because he played his entire career at Rollers and even served the club in the technical department.
Though he is known to be more of Rollers’ prodigal son, Motang pointed out that some strange things happen in life and he is looking forward to his new challenge.
“It did not take me long to decide to join them because I liked their plan. I’m aware that the team has not been doing well but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know it is a mammoth task but I want to believe that together with the person who will be appointed the head coach, we can turn the fortunes of the club around,” said Motang.
According to reports, Gunners are engaged in serious talks with Zambian-born Mike Sithole to bring him on board as the head coach.
In the interim, Motang believes that he will not struggle to put the team through its paces because he has learned a lot from different coaches he has worked with at Rollers even at the national team.
Motang has understudied five coaches during his five-year tenure at Rollers namely Rahman Gumbo, Wesley Mondo, Stanley Mwaanga, Darlington Dodo and Sithole.
“Working with these coaches has made me a better coach not forgetting Colwyn Rowe and Stan (Tshosane) at the national team. I think my experience will benefit this club and hopefully bring the desired results,” said Motang.
Since arriving at Lobatse giants, Motang said the players have been very supporting and he has no doubt that they will give the respect he expects. He added that ahead of the game against Nico United, the players know what is expected from them.
“I have no doubt that they will do well. We’re working on a plan which will see us through on Sunday. Our plan is to reach the next stage of the competition (semis),” Motang pointed out.
Gunners’ chairman Kitso Dlamini said that they are excited to have brought someone of Motang’s caliber to the club. He added that Motang has brought life to the club since his arrival.
“He is a knowledgeable coach who has worked with some of the finest coaches. The fact that he is also a qualified goalkeeper trainer will also come in handy. He is also a motivator hence we brought him on board because the morale of the players was low,” Dlamini said.
Gunners have been without an assistant coach since Nelson Olebile left in the past year and the committee said they were not going to appoint one due to their financial constraints.
And the question is, where would Gunners get funds to pay Motang? In response, Dlamini said, “at the time that decision (not to replace Olebile) was taken, I was not in the committee. I think since then there have been some developments which will enable us to pay salaries of our employees including the technical team.”