‘Like Clive Barker, but more clever’
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.