Lions, who are set for a name change after being bought by Tembisa-based businessman Thabo Mathamela, are now based in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. Chokoe, on the other hand, made his name as coach of Vodacom League team Baroka FC after plotting the downfall of Kaizer Chiefs en route to the Nedbank Cup semis, before faltering on penalties against Black Leopards. However, Chokoe's exploits didn't go unnoticed as Mathamela has enlisted his services for the next season, that sees Lions and other 15 teams form a single NFD stream. "I have signed for a season and the contract started running on July 1," Chokoe reveals to KickOff.com. "Basically, the mandate from the club is to consolidate their position in the League in the coming season and in the second season we will fight for promotion. But given the current format of the First Division there has been a mention too of why not fight for a Play-Offs spot, because you must remember that number one gains automatic promotion and number two, three and four will feature in the Play-Offs together with the team that finishes 15th in the PSL," he says.
_quote "It will be an interesting season. "As for me, I'm glad I got this opportunity. I achieved, no in fact I overachieved, with Baroka and now I will be in an even more competitive League, so this will be a challenge but I'm up to it," says the Polokwane-born coach. Chokoe, who will work alongside Styles Phumo at Lions, admits that walking out on Baroka couldn't possibly be any more difficult. "It wasn't easy for me, but we are in football to progress. In two years' time, if not three, I will love to see myself in the PSL… it is all about growth in a way. I was in the Vodacom League, so why go back there again when there is a chance to step up? It was time for me to go up," he says. In fact, Chokoe was initially touted as a possible assistant coach to Ian Palmer at Maritzburg United and reveals for the first time why the proposed move fell through. "I was contacted by Karabo Mathang (soccer agent) with a view to joining Maritzburg and I asked her to contact me after the Vodacom League Play-Offs and she didn't phone back, so I decided to move on," Chokoe concludes.