‘Like Clive Barker, but more clever’

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After leav­ing Kaizer Chiefs, Tuani coached Uruguay gi­ants Pe­narol for a brief spell be­fore mov­ing to Palestino in his na­tive Chile. Upon his re­turn to South Africa, he re-joined Moroka Swal­lows and helped the club win the 1983 Main­stay Cup, beat­ing Wit­bank Black Aces in the fi­nal. When Mamelodi Sundowns fired head coach Stan­ley “Screamer” Tsha­bal­ala in 1988, Tuani was roped in as his re­place­ment, help­ing the Brazil­ians win the League that year. Mike Ntombela, who was in that Sundowns team, re­mem­bers the Chilean as a ge­nius. “He was like Clive Barker, but more clever,” says Ntombela. “Mario came to Sundowns after Stan­ley Tsha­bal­ala left and he helped us win the League. He was a smart coach who knew how to mo­ti­vate play­ers and made them give their best. He had a funny way of ex­plain­ing things. He was very re­laxed and very strong. Peo­ple like Clive Barker learnt from Mario Tuani about how to mo­ti­vate. Coaches in the past were in that mould be­cause play­ers were very good at the time. Screamer was also like that, he knew how to get the best out of you and knew how to mo­ti­vate you. He did not im­ple­ment that mil­i­tary style train­ing of the time, but put more em­pha­sis on tech­nique. Some­times we wish coaches like that could come back, but we must not be caught in the past. The past was good, but leave the past, the present is here.” Tuani might not have won many tro­phies dur­ing his coach­ing ca­reer, but his con­tri­bu­tion to the game in this coun­try will never for­got­ten.

ABOVE: Mario Tuani dur­ing his time at Or­lando Pi­rates.

RIGHT: Lucky Stylianou won the 1979 Main­stay Cup at Kaizer Chiefs un­der Mario Tuani.

Mike Ntombela

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