Baroka FC coach Kgoloko Thobejane watches from the sideline during a match. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Suspended Baroka FC coach Kgoloko Thobejane will appear before the club’s disciplinary committee next week to defend himself on why he shouldn’t be fired after allegedly drinking on the team bus after the 2-0 loss to Free State Stars.

Thobejane, assistant goalkeeper coach Tshegofatso Machoene, kit manager Delbert Lekoana have all been suspended due to the incident that allegedly happened in Bakgaga’s trip back from Goble Park earlier this month. Captain Olaleng Shaku and goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke have also been accused to have been involved in the incident, but the pair escaped punishment.

“I don’t know about that (Shaku and Masuluke also drinking on the bus),” Baroka FC chief executive Morgan Mammila said.

“The captain is not suspended. Masuluke is not suspended. They are training with the team. I don’t know about the drinking. I don’t travel with the players. I travel in my own transport and they travel in their own bus.

"It’s the coach’s responsibility to make sure that the players behave and they don’t do one, two and three inside the bus. If you tell me that they were drinking, I am not aware of that.”

While the players have seemingly walked away scot-free from the incident, Thobejane will have to explain himself in front of the club’s disciplinary committee.

“I wouldn’t want to say why he has been suspended, every family has house rules and one of our house rules is not sharing sensitive information.” Mammila said.

“We respect the coach and we respect the team. We can’t just give out the whole information. But the bottom line is that coach has been suspended. He won’t sit on the bench when we play Platinum Stars in the Nedbank Cup (Wednesday night at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace) and even when we play Chippa United in the league (on Saturday at Peter Mokaba Stadium).

"The assistant coach MacDonald Makhubedu will take over the hot seat and will be assisted by the head coach of the MDC (MultiChoice Diski Challenge) team, Thoka Matsimela.

“We will have the DC on the week of the 26th, not now because we have two big games. We are focusing more on the team. The most important thing here is the team. The team will not suffer because of this. The players understand.”

This is the second time that Thobejane has been suspended from his role as the club’s head coach. He was demoted as head coach in January last year with Bakgaga languishing at the bottom of the PSL standings after picking up just two wins in 15 matches. Jacob Sakala took over from him and he was shortly sacked for refusing to sign a document mandating him to win the club’s next four matches.

Milton Dlamini also had a short stint as coach and then co-coach with Thobejane. The charismatic former school teacher returned to save the club from relegation after the sacking of Dlamini. Thobejane is loved by the players as he is able to get the best out of them by making them comfortable.

“The coach understands his suspension very well,” Mammila said. “We are not angels. We are bound to make mistakes. Even myself I can make a mistake. But what’s important is for the team not to suffer. We look at the team, not individuals.”

The Star