Teams must hold on to coaches

The two top-per­form­ing men­tors in the PSL show that stick­ing it out is a good strat­egy

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs are known for chop­ping and chang­ing coaches, which seems an odd way to build sta­bil­ity and win tro­phies.

The merry-go-round started in Septem­ber when Free State Stars parted ways with French coach De­nis Lav­agne three games into the new sea­son.

Ac­cord­ing to the club, Lav­agne’s con­tract was ter­mi­nated be­cause the em­ployer-em­ployee re­la­tion­ship had bro­ken down. Now, Stars are threat­ened with rel­e­ga­tion at 14th po­si­tion on the log.

In Oc­to­ber, Roger De Sá left Ajax Cape Town af­ter their loss against Bid­vest Wits. They are now 11th on the log.

A month later, Muhsin Er­tuğral re­signed on na­tional tele­vi­sion af­ter Su­per­Sport United em­bar­rassed Or­lando Pi­rates 6-1 at Mbombela Sta­dium.

“I have never seen a dis­as­trous 45 min­utes like that since I be­gan coach­ing,” Er­tuğral said.

Pi­rates have yet to win a match this year and are 10th on the log.

Other teams that are strug­gling mainly due to coach­ing changes are Bloem­fontein Celtic (13th), where Lehlo­honolo Seema be­came in­terim coach in Oc­to­ber, and new­com­ers High­lands Park (15th), who also ac­quired Gor­don Ige­sund in Oc­to­ber.

Baroka FC (16th) fired their coach Kgoloko Thobe­jane af­ter the club had been stuck at the base of the ta­ble for a while.

What Mamelodi Sun­downs and Bid­vest Wits have done by stick­ing with Pitso Mosi­mane and Gavin Hunt, re­spec­tively, is the per­fect ex­am­ple of suc­cess achieved by stick­ing with one good coach.

When Mosi­mane joined Sun­downs in De­cem­ber 2012, not many ex­pected him to last af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing spell with Bafana Bafana.

Dur­ing his last days with Bafana, he went eight games with­out a win be­fore get­ting sacked. He also failed to qual­ify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Na­tions.

But when he joined then trou­bled Sun­downs, he im­proved their league po­si­tion from last to fin­ish 10th in the 2012/13 sea­son.

His­tory was made in the 2013/14 sea­son when Mosi­mane be­came the first black coach since the PSL’s in­cep­tion in 1996 to win the league and end the Chloorkop-based side’s seven-year league drought. He did what big-name Euro­pean coaches – such as Dutch le­gend Jo­han Neeskens and French coach Henri Michel – failed to do with The Brazil­ians.

Last sea­son, Mosi­mane con­tin­ued to make his­tory when he be­came the first South African coach to win the CAF Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle.

Sun­downs met African heavy­weights TP Mazembe in the CAF Su­per Cup yes­ter­day.

The Clever Boys’ coach, Hunt, has also been do­ing a marvel­lous job. Since 2013, he has turned a team of no-hop­ers into ti­tle con­tenders.

In his first sea­son, Wits fin­ished third be­hind Kaizer Chiefs and win­ners Sun­downs. He main­tained his po­si­tion un­til last sea­son, when he man­aged to do one bet­ter and fin­ish sec­ond – in the process qual­i­fy­ing for the CAF Cham­pi­ons league, which they are cur­rently par­tic­i­pat­ing in.

In 2015/16, he also won the MTN 8 con­test, beat­ing Sun­downs 3-0 at Mbombela Sta­dium. His charges are cur­rently sit­ting on top of the ta­ble with 31 points from 15 matches.

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