-reeling-off Bantu pain
-still ready to serve in the game
He rose to fame as one of the Marabe-brothers duo which mesmerized a lot of premier soccer league teams earning a name of good repute for both themselves individually, as well as for their team Bantu FC. Mokone Marabe is the older of the two brothers who was recently shown the door at the team he has been with for over a dozen years â€œserving with dedication and loyaltyâ€.
In a recent interview with Newsday Sport this week, Marabe said the decision to oust him from a team he called home for over a decade came as more than a shocker which rattled him to the core of his being, leaving him with more questions than answers.
â€œI put in nothing but blood, sweat and tears for that club, I gave it my all and I believe I deserved a far better treatment from the management. I did not see myself being released by the club in such a manner, where I was not even called in for a sit-down, nor negotiations, all I received was a letter,â€ Marabe lamented, adding â€œI feel like I could have been called-in to be told in-person about the decision, whose reason to this day I still donâ€™t understand, but itâ€™s definitely one which broke my heart because until today I am still coming to terms with itâ€.
The goal-poacher said since the news of his departure from Bantu broke at the end of his contract, he has received a number of offers from some of the big names in the premier league although he has chosen to not be hasty in determining his next move after doing duty with the multiple premiership champions.
â€œIn the end, I must accept that it comes with the territory of the game and find a way to move on, who knows, this could be another blessing in disguise for me and my career. I am pretty much still in the game, no retirement thoughts but I am taking my time on the next move. A number of big teams in the premier league are already making offers for my services but maybe it is time I think about playing outside the country for some time,â€ he said.
Marabeâ€™s footballing origins date to as far back as when he was just six knocking the ball around under the watchful eye of his father and another household name of yesteryear, Teboho â€˜Cobraâ€™ Marabe, who also played for the likes of Bantu, LDF and the national team Likuena.
He then took the game to higher heights as he grew older and started playing with his young brother LitÅ¡epe with whom they troubled defences of premier league clubs at Bantu as well as hoisting the national flag serving in the Likuena ranks.
Before joining Bantu, he played for Likhopo which he had joined after playing in the North West Province, South Africa for a third-tier Vodacom league team, Mothupi Birds, where he was playing alongside former South African Orlando Pirates dribbling wizard, Thabo Rakgale.
He joined Bantu in 2010 still quite youthful, grew and found a home there, and continued playing to a point where he was convinced it was going to be a club he ends his career at but now that things have turned the way he did not expect, he is still going to continue playing because he believes he still has a lot to offer to the game.
He said he will always be proud that he was part of the team that delivered the first ever premier league title to Bantu in 2013 and subsequently a generation that won a number of trophies thereafter.
The 31-year-old forward has successfully followed in his fatherâ€™s footsteps, Teboho â€˜Cobraâ€™ Marabe, and alongside his brother, LitÅ¡epe play for Bantu and the national team, Likuena.
Marabe said playing alongside his younger brother at club and national level is one of the things he will always cherish.
â€œWe played together from juniors and the only time we were not at the same club was when I was at Likhopo and he was at Matlama. Our understanding was great because we grew up playing together which has always been an honor that we managed to follow in our fatherâ€™s footsteps and made him proud,â€
LitÅ¡epe now plays for Bosco Fc which plays in the Indian i-League.
Bantu said Marabe was being let-go as part of preparations for the new season wherein the management felt it needed to restructure the team by bringing-in newer ideas with a fresher team with younger minds.
In carrying out the feat, it decided not to renew the contracts of and thus released the entire technical staff as well as â€˜olderâ€™ players including Marabe and goalkeeper Thabo Selisa.
Bantu General Manager, Poosela Pule confirmed the exodus which he described as contractual expiration.
â€œYes we have indeed released the technical team inclusive of the head coach because of contract expiry and the performance in the recently ended season which was not impressive hence the clubâ€™s decision not to renew their contracts,â€ Pule revealed, adding that that the concern of the teamâ€™s management was that when only letting go of the head coach, the style of play which was not so impressive would definitely continue hence the decision to start afresh.
â€œThe two players have been with the club for a very long time and had become an integral part of the Bantu family but unfortunately the management decided not to renew their contracts also, reason being we want to start a fresh squad made-up mostly of young players,â€ he said.
However, it would seem that despite the decision to release him, the team seems to still have very much of a soft-spot for the experienced striker, as they point out that should the new coach to lead the club into the new season is at liberty to look in his direction even.
â€œWe already have a team on the ground working tirelessly assessing which coach to bring-in. When that new coach comes he will make his decision on who he wants in and out of his team. So, for instance, if he says he wants Marabe, the player will indeed be recalled and offered a new contract,â€ said Pule.