PSL

Teams must hold on to coaches

2017-02-19 06:26
Denis Lavagne (Gallo Images)

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 Ertugral 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,” Ertugral 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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Fixtures
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Mamelodi Sundowns v Polokwane City, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 19:30
Chippa United v AmaZulu FC, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 19:30
Baroka FC v Orlando Pirates, Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Wednesday, 23 August 2017
Cape Town City FC v Platinum Stars, Cape Town Stadium 19:30
Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United, FNB Stadium 19:30
Free State Stars v Wits, Goble Park 19:30
Maritzburg United v Ajax Cape Town, Harry Gwala Stadium 19:30
Golden Arrows v Bloemfontein Celtic, Princess Magogo Stadium 19:30
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Free State Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns, Goble Park 19:30
AmaZulu FC v Maritzburg United, King Zwelithini Stadium 19:30
Chippa United v Baroka FC, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 19:30
Polokwane City v Bloemfontein Celtic, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town, Orlando Stadium 19:30
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