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Dodge is dead

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MBABANE – Moneni Pirates coach Dumisa ‘Dodge’ Mahlalela is late.

The veteran mentor had been admitted to the Mbabane Government Hospital for the past week and succumbed to death yesterday at around 11am. Information about his death started spreading like wildfire in the afternoon.

A member of the family who cannot be named at the moment confirmed the coach’s demise but said they were still to meet over the matter later last night. "It is true, but I can’t comment until the family has met and issued a statement," the relative said.

The devastating news of his death has left many of his colleagues in the coaching profession emotional wrecks. In fact, the report on his death affected yesterday’s coaches’ workshop held at the FA Technical Centre at Lobamba.

Swaziland Football Coaches Association (SFCA) Chairman, Josiah ‘Digger’ Dlamini, said he had just received the news, and would only comment once the Mahlalela family had confirmed. "We have just heard that one of our own, Dumisa Mahlalela, has paased on, but we cannot say much now until we have been formally informed by the family," he said.

An official from his club Moneni Pirates referred all questions to the family. "We can’t say anything before we have met with his family," the official said.

The likeable mentor who spent his entire playing years at Moneni Pirates has had an illustrious career both as a player and coach. The Hungary trained mentor was at the time of his demise considered among the country’s senior coaches, having had successful spells at the senior national, Sihlangu.

He had just rejoined Pirates as coach early last season, and he immediately impressed leading the club to seventh spot, which was their best finish since their return to the Premier League in 2009.

The coach is credited for transforming Young Buffaloes from being a relegation club to title challengers.

 After losing the league via a boardroom decision in 1997 at Mbabane Swallows, he went on to win it at Manzini Wanderers with what was the best assembled squad in a long time. His team comprised of Dennis Yuki Masina, Maxwell ‘King Dunga’ Zikalala, John ‘Junior Shisa’ Mdluli, Mxolisi ‘Stopper’ Mthethwa, Berger Nxumalo and Doctor Nxumalo to name a few.

 

He was close to taking Sihlangu to its maiden Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia 2004, before losing out to DRC in the last two games of the campaign.

It was his ball juggling skills during his playing days that endeared him to many a football supporter, hence earning the nickname ‘Dodge Motolo.’ He will be greatly missed by many in the people’s game.

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