MASERU – Lioli FC has announced the appointment of Vuyisane Mangaliso as caretaker coach, following the demise of former mentor Ntsheing Thomas Tshabalala – a South African national.
Tshabalala only led the Lioli in three league matches of the current 2020/2021 season.
Mangaliso, also a South African, is not new to the technical setup, he had been serving as Tshabalala’s assistant when the coach was roped in by the Berea outfit in September 2020, and Lioli are optimistic Mangaliso’s retention and elevation to head coach will bring continuity and stability within its technical division.
This will also give management enough time to consider options and to decide on a future permanent plan, according to club president Lebohang Thotanyana.
“We welcome Mr Mangaliso on his new role and wish him the best of luck,” Thotanyana said.
Lioli started the season a promising outfit under Tshabalala, winning their opening two matches, 4-1 over CCX FC and 2-0 over Linare before losing the third game 2-1 to Lijabatho.
The team’s 2019/2020 campaign proved a nightmare, with both a dismal showing that was coupled with both internal strife and off-the-pitch troubles under another South African coach Morena Ramorebodi. Ramoreboli eventually parted ways with the club despite having been offered a new deal to carry on with his work at helm of ‘Tse Nala’.
But Lioli’s new elected leadership could not offer Ntene a contract as it opted for Tshabalala whose tract record was impressive, having led Lifofane FC to winning the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) tournament and fine performance in their maiden season in the top-flight league.
Several names were touted to replace Ramorebodi at Lioli, with the latest before Tshabalala’s engagement being former Linare coach, Freeze Ntene, linked with the team ahead of the 2020/2021 season.
Lioli are currently lying on position seven on the 16-team Vodacom Premier League log table, with a game in hand compared to their opponents who have all played four matches except for Lifofane who have played an equal number of games with Lioli. This followed the two teams abandoned match due to a water-logged pitch, Lifofane were the host of the postponed tie.
Football and all sports activities remain suspended in the country following the declaration of the colour code Orange lockdown level, one of several since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores and the first lockdown was announced in March 2020.