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Storm clouds gather at Chiefs

Mike Sithole faces a test of character

A sense of impending upheaval has rarely been far from the surface at Mochudi Centre Chiefs during its turbulent years, so even if coach Michael Sithole has been taken aback by recent developments, the signs are familiar to old guard of players and coaches alike.


 Chiefs started the season in an uncompromising mood, winning all their first four games. This put them on pole position and were without a cloud on the horizon, but a little more than four weeks later, having claimed only three points from two matches, the team finds itself looking up at both Township Rollers and BMC while Sithole  glances nervously over his shoulder in fear of being stabbed in the back.


 The official word from within the Kgatleng side is, of course, that Sithole has nothing to worry about. The word from elsewhere — some of it filtering down from the family followers and advisers privy to the management’s thoughts and mood swings — is far less reassuring: that being a foreign coach in all conceivable ways has not been good enough to make Sithole any less vulnerable than his predecessors.


For the management that has gone into privatisation, partly led by Jamali and the other portion still with Ernest Molome, there is an enormous difference between coveting an ambitious coach and installing him at the side where the mood is low. There is little to encourage the belief that open-minded coaches like Daniel Nare or Madinda Ndlovu would be tempted again by Chiefs, so for now the story is merely that Sithole and the newly appointed Jamali are being undervalued by the “lovers” of the team.


Has this sudden, unnecessary sense of unrest, beginning with the inability of the team to push long-serving assistant coach, Michael Morapedi to the top post, who some clearly views with caution, been responsible for Chiefs’ recent difficulties?
It is hard to suggest it is the main factor when it is clear former captain Tshepo Motlhabankwe and Elvis Meleka, both playing elsewhere, have been more sorely missed in a season that promises no honour for the team.


 But, as was abundantly clear in the years that separated its 2009 and 2012 league successes, turbulence behind the scenes helps nobody. As a survivor of the early years under Ndlovu and Rahman Gumbo, Pontsho Moloi is better qualified than most to put Chiefs  recent troubles into perspective, but, speaking after the 4-0 drubbing against Motlakase, he described this run as the most frustrating he has endured in  Botswana.


‘‘It is maybe the worst run of form I have known since I came to the club,’’ the former Botswana international said. ‘‘It is frustrating, very frustrating. ‘But we have to stay together. You might say this is the basic formula for players, but we have to stay together and do everything to change this.’’


But the major worry for Magosi is that the new owner of the club, whom many argue that he was a bad choice of football business, is reportedly insisting in his mission of cost cutting exercise.


This publication has gathered that the business man is willing to cut salaries of veteran players, a couple of whom might as well as leave before the axe falls on them. It is reported that the business man is fuming that such players, whose names are known to this publication, are slowly becoming a liability.


Chiefs’ media relations chief Clifford Mogomotsi refuted such allegations in an interview and called for calm as they “sort themselves out”.

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The Crown Prosecution Service said the charges were discontinued after a key witness withdrew their involvement.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

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