It’s sink or swim for new coaches

CityPress - - Sport -

The level of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the Pre­mier Soc­cer League (PSL) next sea­son ranges from one ex­treme to another.

Four coaches – Benni Mc­Carthy, Peter But­ler, Ve­selin Jelušić and Joey An­tipas – are set to take charge of their sides for the first time in the top flight, while Fadlu Davids and Bernard Molekwa have grad­u­ated from as­sis­tant coach to the top job.

Then there is Sammy Troughton, who has made a re­turn to the Premier­ship af­ter resur­fac­ing at Free State Stars. He was pre­vi­ously with Mpumalanga Black Aces and the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria, and is not new to this en­vi­ron­ment af­ter hav­ing been part of Stars’ tech­ni­cal team about a decade ago.

All eyes will be on for­mer Bafana Bafana striker Mc­Carthy as he takes on his first man­age­rial job. Davids and Molekwa will head Mar­itzburg United and Polok­wane City, re­spec­tively. This is af­ter they guided the clubs to top-eight fin­ishes af­ter tak­ing over the reins in the lat­ter stages of the last cam­paign.

An­tipas (AmaZulu)

His po­si­tion was un­cer­tain af­ter AmaZulu failed to gain pro­mo­tion when they fin­ished fifth in the Na­tional First Divi­sion, but he has had a stay of ex­e­cu­tion. Af­ter the club bought Thanda Royal Zulu’s sta­tus, An­tipas should brace him­self for a chal­lenge made harder by the fact that his bosses spent mil­lions for a place in the Premier­ship. The Zim­bab­wean will be hoping for a bet­ter out­ing this time. He could, how­ever, face an early bat­tle to keep his job if he fails to de­liver in the be­gin­ning stages of the sea­son.

Molekwa (Polok­wane City)

He got a taste of what to ex­pect when he was thrown into the deep end fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Bel­gian Luc Ey­mael in March. How­ever, be­ing a care­taker coach and a full-time men­tor are two dif­fer­ent things. He will have to con­vince those who saw po­ten­tial in him that he is more than ca­pa­ble of lead­ing. For him to sur­vive, he will need the back­ing of se­nior play­ers and man­age­ment to ease the pres­sure. At 40, he has a long fu­ture ahead of him and this is the per­fect plat­form to nur­ture his coach­ing tal­ent.

Mc­Carthy (Cape Town City)

His ap­point­ment is re­garded as a gam­ble by many be­cause of his lack of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But some­times PSL ex­pe­ri­ence is not the only way to go – much will de­pend on how play­ers re­spond to his coach­ing phi­los­o­phy. Hav­ing played at the high­est level in Eng­land, Spain and Por­tu­gal, the for­mer Bafana Bafana striker has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and all he needs to do is im­part his knowl­edge to the play­ers. It might take some time be­fore he makes his mark, but he has what it takes to suc­ceed. Fol­low­ing Cape Town City’s third-place fin­ish and their triumph in the Telkom Knock­out, ex­pec­ta­tions will be high for Mc­Carthy.

Jelušić (Bloem­fontein Celtic)

The Serb comes with vast knowl­edge of south­ern African foot­ball af­ter work­ing in Botswana and An­gola. But while he might have some knowl­edge of South African foot­ball, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it first-hand will be another story. Tak­ing over a side that was the low­est scor­ing last sea­son with 16 goals – and one that hov­ered in the rel­e­ga­tion zone un­til the last round of fix­tures – is a big task. But he sounds pos­i­tive, and seems con­fi­dent that he will sur­vive and turn Si­welele’s for­tunes around.

But­ler (Plat­inum Stars)

Eyebrows were raised at But­ler’s move from Botswana to the PSL. In 2015, the English­man crit­i­cised the qual­ity of foot­ball in the PSL when he was still coach­ing Botswana’s na­tional team. But that was then – now, he has a chance to im­prove the qual­ity of the league af­ter join­ing Plat­inum Stars. But his com­ments have put him on the back foot and he must prove he was wrong.

Davids (Mar­itzburg United)

Af­ter com­ing to the res­cue when United looked like they were in trou­ble fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Roger De Sá last sea­son, the for­mer player has to re­pay man­age­ment – and all those who called for him to be given the job – for their con­fi­dence in him. Davids guided United to a top-eight fin­ish and he will be look­ing for sim­i­lar or even bet­ter re­sults. He must have learnt a lot from Ger­man Ernst Mid­den­dorp and De Sá, and should be in a good po­si­tion to go it alone.

– Ti­mothy Molobi

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