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Mphahlele Calls Out ‘Criminal’ In Response To Bribery Allegations

A DStv Premiership club has opened up on bribery allegations levelled against members of its technical team, including a first team head coach.

A local football coach and mentor has alleged that he lost money to Baroka FC head coach Kgoloko Thobejane and the club’s goalkeeper coach Naughty Lekgau says he is disappointed at the club due to what he claims to be their ignorance in failing to deal with the matter. 

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Damning bribery allegations have surfaced against Thobejane and Lekgau by local football coach and mentor Alpheus Thantsha, who claims to have lost in the region of R20 000 allegedly to the two coaches, as exclusively revealed in edition 1256 of Soccer Laduma.

According to Thantsha, Thobejane and Lekgau had allegedly promised in August to have three of his young players signed by the Limpopo-based club for its DStv Diski Challenge team if he paid the amount. At the time when Thobejane was still with Baroka’s reserve team, before his promotion to the first team as head coach in November.

“I spoke to the chairman, and the way he spoke to me he sees nothing wrong. I sent him all the evidence and he said I am lying but he has text messages even from his coaches to me (which I forwarded to him), confirming that they will pay me back in January, but he is still protecting them,” said Thantsha.

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Contacted for comment, Baroka chairman Khurishi Mphahlele accused Thantsha of alleged criminality and corruption.   

“Let that guy spread whatever information he wants to spread. Let me tell you one thing, that guy is corrupt, and he wants to corrupt my whole team. How can we make players pay to play for the team? How can we do that? How do we do that? We make players here and hundreds and hundreds of kids come here, and we have never made not even one of them pay one cent and instead we are helping them,” said the chairman.

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“He (Thantsha) is taking money from the parents of the kids and that is his problem. He promises them heaven and earth. He is the one who promised the parents of the kids to place the kids at Baroka FC. Why must he give my staff money? I am paying my staff. Why must he give my staff money behind my back? He is a sgebenga (criminal) that man. He claimed that the kids were from Seshego and I said, ‘Let’s phone the parents to confirm where the kids come from.’ I always do that because when these kids are away from their parents they give us problems here and when they do that we don’t know where to report them. The other one is from KZN, but this man said he was from Seshego,” he added.

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“Our policy is that for the MDC team, we give preference to boys from Limpopo. We decided on that because their parents are close by and if the boys give us problems, we can call their parents to discuss the problems. We can’t call somebody from Cape Town to come and discuss MDC player issues here. That would take time. Imagine parents having to book flights and to make all the arrangements to come here for MDC players who are not getting paid a salary because they are amateurs. We are developing them to be professional players and we don’t pay them. How can we make them to pay when we don’t pay them? My question is, why didn’t this guy come to me to report when the coach asked for money from him? Why come to me when he wants his money back? If those boys were not dismissed, he was not going to want his money back. What was that money for? Bribery? No! He should have reported the matter before. I have told him to report the matter to the police,” Mphahlele concluded.

On being accused of alleged criminal behaviour, Thantsha hit back and said, “What does what he says have to do with his coaches taking bribes? At the end of the day, it is the parents of the players that end up paying the money in those kinds of situations when coaches ask for money for trials. At first, I used my money in trying to get the boys placed at the club and as time went on and on realising that I could not afford it anymore, I went to the parents for assistance on behalf of the boys. The chairman is trying to protect his coaches.” 

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