By Michael Madyira
Three coaches, Romain Folz, Dan Malesela and Raymond Mdaka, took charge of Marumo Gallants this season.
Another manager, Dylan Kerr, also joined them, albeit as a technical advisor during a term in which the Limpopo outfit experienced mixed fortunes at home and in Africa.
Following a surprising campaign in the CAF Confederation Cup where they unexpectedly reached the semi-finals, fate’s cruel twist saw Gallants being relegated from the Premier Soccer League.
Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Swallows FC capped an agonising week after elimination from the Confederation Cup three days earlier.
The end to their season was a difficult one, losing four and once sharing spoils in their last five games across all competitions.
Bahlabane ba Ntwa’s collapse was sudden and it came after impressively eliminating Egyptian moneybags Pyramids from the Confederation Cup in the quarter-finals.
“We just lost it and got relegated,” said Mdaka as per SABC Sport.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a difference between how we played here and how we played there [in the CAF Confederation Cup].
“We never said we are focusing on this and we are leaving this. It just happened. We wouldn’t blame anything on whatever happened. We played some other games and we were able to win.”
Despite struggling to stay out of the relegation matrix, this is a team that had gone for eight straight PSL games without tasting defeat between late January and early May.
Even one of their strikers, Ranga Chivaviro, was a PSL Golden Boot contender with 10 goals and two short of the joint-leading scorers Peter Shalulile and Khanyisa Mayo.
Chivaviro is also the top-scorer in the Confederation Cup with seven goals.
“The sad part of it is we lost [to Swallows] in a situation where we had to lose the status in the PSL,” said Mdaka.
“We are very sad about that. We never expected it at all, as much as we were amongst three teams that were fighting relegation but it never crossed our minds that we would find ourselves in this situation.”
A number of Gallants players have been linked with moves to PSL clubs and that could complicate their bid to return to the top-flight league.
Pictured above: Marumo Gallants players Lesiba Nku and Lucky Mohomi
Image source: Marumo Gallants