FORMER Highlanders head coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu’s stock has continued to rise in neighbouring Botswana amid revelations that he has been nominated for the Coach of the Year award.
He was nominated for the accolade by the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
Mpofu, an ex-Young Warriors and former Zimbabwe senior national team assistant coach, is in his second coaching job in Botswana.
His first and impressive stint was with Masitaoka FC before he earlier on this year joined Sua Flamingoes.
The Zimbabwean gaffer has been nominated for the Coach of the Year award together with Pontsho Moloi of (Gaborone United), Morena Ramareboli (Jwaneng Galaxy) and Seemo Mpatane (Eleven Angels).
“I’m really happy and humbled by the recognition. It gives me all the confidence to keep on working hard,” said Mpofu in a brief interview from his base in Botswana on Thursday.
The Tshabalala-bred Mpofu joined Gaborone-based Masitaoka in August 2022 when he was unattached and this was a few months after he had parted ways with Highlanders.
In his 11 months stay at the club, from 34 official games, he won 16, drew four and lost 14 to finish on position seven with 43 points as well as taking them to the Orange FA Cup Season semifinals.
Following Masitaoka’s fine performance at the Orange FA Cup Season contest, the former Warriors assistant coach was listed for the 2023 Orange Cup Coach of the Tournament nominees.
It was unfortunate he did not grab the accolade. Mpofu, a Caf A holder, is also one of the coaches that are heavily tipped to take charge at Botswana senior national football team who are better known as Zebras. He is part of a list that includes current Zebras coach experienced Teenage Mpote, Ramoreboli of Jwaneng Galaxy, Masitaoka FC’s new mentor Thaloba Nthaga and Moloi.
At Sua Flamingoes Mpofu signed a one-year contract with the club reckoning that he has a strong track record of developing players and understanding the importance of the link from the academy and would be very important to the club.
At the now defunct Bantu Rovers Academy, Mpofu, groomed a number of celebrated Zimbabwe players that include ex-Aston Villa midfielder Marvellous Nakamba, Kudakwashe Mahachi, United States of
America (USA)-based Teenage Hadebe, Nqobizitha Masuku and ex-Warriors captain Danny “Deco” Phiri.