Coach Mike Dubula Dubula Sithole shares the secret of how he turned Chiefs into a league winner. It was team work, he declares though he goes further to rave about the skills of his midfield general and club captain in particular. ONTAMETSE SUGAR reports.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs coach Mike 'Dubula' Sithole is on cloud nine after winning the beMOBILE Premier League title. He re-joined Mochudi Centre Chiefs last season, taking over from Dragojlo Stajnolovic. Sithole said it was easy for him to settle back at the team because he had been with them before and he knew some of the players well. He said when he got there his plan was to identify why the team was not performing well and as such was not into winning the league but looking for a descent position. They finished in position four. By the end of last season they lost players and he was faced with homework where he had to find new players that can replace the ones who have left. "It was very tricky and we ended up not being a balanced team and the whole of the season we were not. I don't know how I managed to successfully work with that," he said.
Without enough resources in his hands, he had to convert Lesego Galenamotlhale, who is an attacking midfielder into a defensive midfielder. He referred to him as a player who played a key role in stabilising the team at the back and he did it very well. Sithole said the only thing that they had that helped them travail through everything was the fact that they never gave up. They supported each other as a team and also gave the boys a role to play in decision making since he did not want to do it on his own. "I will sit with them and ask them where they thought we needed to improve and it worked for us," he said. He added that the support from fans and management was also pivotal and that encouraged the boys especially when Township Rollers was still leading the log table. With that they never stopped fighting and he referred to their moment of winning the league as the second round after they beat Township Rollers. He said it was their target to beat Rollers, GU and BDF XI because those were their competitors.
After beating Rollers and BDF XI Sithole said they knew that they should never look back and their players even got more focused. He couldn't stop smiling and giggling when he talked about them as champions because it relived the memories when he won with Gaborone United. Going forward, he said proper planning needs to be done to ensure that they do well in the Mascom Top 8, a cup that has eluded Centre Chiefs. He said that it is all about planning, where he revealed is for them to start planning now if they want to have it in the future. Sithole said his players can be a little bit difficult to work with because after all they are from different backgrounds. He said it is for him as the coach to know how to go about them in order to be able to have that player coach relationship where they do not fear him. He said the best thing that he always does is to always find the key players and work with them very well and that has brought results. Sithole said though he is joyful he knows that the work has begun for him to plan forward and prepare for the next season because the team was not balanced at all. "We should start working now so that next season when we start we wouldn't panic,” he added. He said they still want to finish their two remaining games on a high note. Sithole referred to his job as very frustrating since they make a lot of enemies. He said that it is still a challenge though he has been doing it for 25 years now. He said to him it is an achievement to have won two leagues in a foreign country. Sithole said one important thing that people should understand is that coaches are workers not supporters, so they will just leave a team and go to another because they go after better offers more so that their career is short. One is hot today and cold tomorrow. “Through this we create a lot of enemies, because at the end of the day I have to look at my benefits," he said.
Sithole applauded club captain Pontsho Moloi and Galenamotlhale for steering the team to win the league. Sithole said as a coach he knows that supporters will have players that they like, management will have theirs, journalists and so forth but rather it is up to him to build up a team that can win. He gave his players 10 out of 10 for emerging the champions. They are facing Gaborone United on Tuesday night, and then their last game will be with Police XI. He said the players are still going to fight hard because the top goal scorer is still open for a take with Kekaetswe Moloi and Lemponye Tshireletso standing a chance. He said he wants to stay with Chiefs one more season as he expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the players, supporters and management.