Bantu coach disliked Lazola’s style



MASERU – Lazola Tjokojokwane parted ways with Bantu because he was not in the plans of the club’s new coach, Abram Mongoya. According to sources the new coach did not like Tjokojokwane’s style of play.

Public Eye has found out that this was despite Bantu management’s willingness to renew Tjokojokwane’s contract which was about to expire when it became obvious that Mongoya’s relationship with the striker was not good since they did not agree about the style of play.

Mongoya joined Bantu few months ago while Jokojokwane had been with the club for several seasons, winning league titles and the Independence Cup, amongst other domestic competitions.

Bantu’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Pule Masoatsi, confirmed that Bantu were willing to renew Tjokojokwane’s contract until the last minute when things fell apart. “We have parted ways with him after we could not reach an agreement, while in the beginning we did not have any problem to renew his contract,” said Masoatsi in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week.

Masoatsi further confirmed that the main problem was actually the style of play: “To be honest, a big player like Lazola (Tjokojokwane) has his own style of play and of course his works for him all the time but now his style of play was not what the coach was looking for. “So both the coach and the player could not agree on that one, and that’s one of the things which has resulted in Lazola’s departure since he was no longer in the coach’s plans.”

The South African born striker has been one of the lethal strikers in Lesotho’s top-flight league since he joined Bantu. He scored most of the crucial goals for the Mafeteng based-side over the years. Former Likuena goalkeeper, Tšepo Mathetha, said Bantu lost a lethal striker in Tjokojokwane. “Bantu have lost a lot by letting Tjokojokwane go,” said Mathetha.

“I am saying this because they have released him before they could find someone like him or someone who works hard like him.” Mathetha further said: “Tjokojokwane is a hard worker and Bantu have not replaced him. “It may be that his relationship with the coach was not good but I think their relationship could have been fixed for the benefit of the team.”

Mathetha also said the fact that Tjokojokwane spent several years at Bantu meant he knew the club’s culture very well. “The fact that he was with Bantu for a long time means he knows the club’s culture very well which is very important for any team to keep a player like him.

“But joining Matlama, let us believe that he will get a professional contract to play outside the country because to be honest he is a good player.” Former Bantu player, Tsebang ‘Owen’ Lebata, said the departure of key players like Tjokojokwane should not be a big deal.

“It is not something new for a key player to leave,” said Lebata. “The recent example is the departure of Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi. Everybody would love to see them playing for their former teams until they retire because of the efforts they made while still playing there.”

Lebata further said: “But there are many situations which can force a player to leave his team. “One of them is whether a club can offer a player who he wants after his contract expires or not.” Lebata said that could also be the case if a club no longer needed a player’s service.

“That can also be the case when a club feels it no longer needs the services of a particular player even if people think such a player is still performing well.”Lebata again said that can also be the case when a relationship between a player and coach is not good. “I don’t think this should be a big deal.

“It’s good for him to leave regardless they parted ways amicably or not. That’s what happens in football.” Former Lifefo FC captain and now a coach, Bahlakoana ‘Kenny’ Mohoanyane, said Bantu had not treated Tjokojokwane fairly. “I don’t think Bantu have not treated Tjokojokwane in a fair manner,” said Mohoanyane.

“I have only heard on social medial that his demands were high, but the issue is that his demands were too high for Bantu and not for Matlama.” Mohoanyane further said: “Sometimes you need those players who have been with the team for a long time and who are loyal to the team.”

Mohoanyane said the four to five years which Tjokojokwane spent at Bantu made him one of the long serving players for the Mafeteng-based side. “I don’t think they have made a good decision to release a player of Tjokojokwane’s quality. “Besides being a quality player, he has done a great job for them and was loyal to them.” Tjokojokwane has since joined Bantu rivals, Matlama. His departure is still a shock to some of Bantu fans.

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