Kadodia delighted as he eventually lands his coach, De Sa
A 10-YEAR courtship resulted in a two-and-a-half years contract after Maritzburg United unveiled Roger De Sa as their new head coach in the KwaZulu-Natal capital yesterday.
The mystery over Maritzburg’s new coach stretched from late November, when German coach Ernst Middendorp resigned, and ended at Harry Gwala Stadium yesterday when the new coach was introduced to the media.
The former Bidvest Wits, Santos, Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town coach was always Maritzburg’s first choice, according to club chairman Farook Kadodia who said that over the past 10 years they failed to secure him because the timing didn’t suit either party.
On this occasion when Maritzburg popped the question De Sa was said to be biding his time in anticipation of being a contender for the Bafana Bafana post which was vacated when Ephraim Mashaba was booted out by Safa.
De Sa confirmed that he “looked at a few offers carefully,” but that none of those were from the national mother body. Instead he needed time to round off issues related to various business interests, and only planned to avail himself from January.
“It’s not true; I’ve never spoken to Safa and Safa have never spoken to me,” said De Sa flatly when asked about rumours he was set to fill the national hot seat. “Whenever I open the newspaper and read about my life, it’s like you guys know more about my life. As far as Safa is concerned, it was fabricated.”
Earlier this week Kadodia was reluctant to confirm De Sa as the new coach because he had not signed a contract. With the formalities concluded, Kadodia gushed about having finally landed his man.
“The coach and I go back a long way, 10 years, but the opportunity to work together didn’t come. Now we have a coach we believe has the quality we need. He has rich playing value and lots of coaching experience. More especially, he has an impeccable record of promoting youth who are playing for big teams.
“KwaZulu-Natal has a lot of players who float out of the province all the time to other teams and we need to promote this talent and give it a platform,” said Kadodia.
Improving their development system is a long term project compared to the immediate goal of establishing the Team of Choice as a regular top eight team. Chairman and coach were in agreement that the current side can achieve the immediate target of a top eight finish.
A run to a cup final along the way as well as the promotion of more players into international football will be a bonus to help improve the Maritzburg brand and attract sponsorship to begin to consistently challenge the bigger clubs.
“There are challenges being in a city that doesn’t draw massive sponsorships. The challenge will be to match up and we can only do it through success,” said De Sa.
“We have to be more consistent, get into the top eight regularly and have a decent cup run. I’m absolutely happy with the foundation established by Steve (Komphela) and Ernst, and now it’s important to keep the ship on course.”
He takes over from Fadlu Davids who took charge of their last five games before the break and finished unbeaten. Davids will revert to his assistant coach role while continuing his studies towards a Uefa A licence badge.
The Maritzburg squad regrouped yesterday to resume training for the second half of the season which gets underway next month after the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon is completed. Their first match under the new coach will be away to Polokwane City on February 8.