Former South African international James Madidilane on Saturday led Bantu FC to the Lesotho Vodacom Premier league title in his first year coaching in the Mountain Kingdom country.
His side took the title away from bitter rivals Lioli FC who won back-to-back league titles over the last two seasons.
Bantu defeated Kick4Life FC coached by former Lesotho National team coach Leslie Notši 3-0 to win the championship ahead of Lioli who finished in second and two points behind.
Madidilane came to the Mountain Kingdom country at the start of the 2016/17 season after a recommendation from former Lesotho captain and current Bloemfontein Celtic interim coach Lehlohonolo Seema after as the two played and coached together at the side based in the Free State Province of South Africa.
Bantu last won the league title during the 2013/14 season.
Madidilane capped once by South Africa, but with numerous caps for the youth teams including captaining the South African under-23 side, said he was over the moon to have been successful in his first year coaching in Lesotho.
“I’m very happy to have led the team to such an important trophy in my first year working in the country,” Madidilane said.
“It is a sign that we have made a giant step in the right direction.
‘I think my success goes down to the fact that I was well received at the club and was able to hit the ground running.”
Madidilane who also played for clubs such as Maritzburg United and Mpumalanga Black Aces in South Africa, explained that leaving his country that is seen as the greener pastures for coaches and players alike in the African continent was part of his learning process as a young coach.
His previous experience as a coach was coaching the Bloemfontein Celtic youth teams as well as in the lower division of his home country.
“We worked hard all the season as a team and credit goes to the players, management and supporters who have been with us throughout,” Madidilane said.
The former Bloemfontein Celtic defender was also in praises for his technical that helped him hit the ground running coaching at the highest level for the very first time.
“I was very lucky to work with a technical team of supportive and understanding colleagues who made me feel welcome from the first day.
“I do not think that without their corporation and assistance would have been able to win the league this season.”
The final day of the Lesotho Premier league also saw former champions and National University side, Rovers relegated from the elite league.
They join Butha Buthe Warriors as the two teams relegated from the 14-team premier league.
By Mikia Kalati