Johannesburg - Eight games into the season and already the league is bleeding coaches. Exactly 31% of the coaches – five in total – have vacated their hot seats, and it’s not over.
There are still casualties coming our way as we are not even a third of the way into the new season.
After the recent turn of events, when the fifth coach quit, the question is: Where will Muhsin Ertugral, Roger De Sá and Serame Letsoaka go now?
Or rather, who will fill their shoes at their previous clubs? Will it be another familiar face or a new man for the job? There are positions that need to be filled and coaches who need to step up to the plate, so let us hope that this is the end of the circus.
It has become a trend in the PSL in the past few seasons for the same faces to be hired and fired, only to be rehired and fired again ... all in one season.
It is hard to tell when it comes to club bosses as, more often than not, they like recycling coaches.
So it should not come as a surprise if the coaching merry-go-round continues in the Premiership, with few vacant positions.
The trio were the latest in the ongoing “sacking coaches” business. They followed in the footsteps of Allan Freese and Denis Lavagne, who were the first two casualties of the season.
Matches: P(7) W(2) D(4) L(1) Pts(10)
While Ertugral’s rush of blood to the head made him quit on national television, he was already skating on thin ice as results were not forthcoming. He only had two league victories under his belt, which were achieved in the opening two games.
But the fact that his side dropped 11 points in the subsequent five matches proved that life was not rosy for him at Pirates. On paper, there is ample creative talent in the Bucs team.
However, Ertugral failed to make them gel as a team as he used different line-ups in almost all the games. He was also guilty of deploying players out of positions, as he did with Abbubaker Mobara, who was shuttling between defence and midfield.
Ertugral’s first mistake was to alienate some senior players who have been the core of the Bucs team. The likes of Ayanda Gcaba were relegated to the MultiChoice Diski Challenge team, while Rooi Mahamutsa and Lehlohonolo Masalesa have also disappeared from the team.
Instead, he opted for newcomers Justice Chabalala and Thembela Sikhakhane, who have not done anything exceptional. Issa Sarr, who has always formed the core of the team, was also sidelined in the opening few games, but has since been recalled to the team.
Before he joined Bucs, there were questions around his temper and management style, and whether he was the right man for the job.
It did not take long for this to come to the fore when he openly clashed with Ghanaian international Edwin Gyimah at Cape Town International Airport and they had to be restrained.
This was after he substituted Gyimah in the game against Ajax Cape Town the night before. Their relationship has not been the same since. Gyimah disappeared from the starting line-up and resurfaced a few games later.
Ertugral was his own worst enemy at Pirates. It was a case of the Pirates’ way or the highway.
Denis Lavagne (Free State Stars)
Matches: P(3) W(0) D(1) L(2) Pts(1)
Some might think Stars were too quick to pull the trigger on the Frenchman after only three games in charge, but that is the nature of football. Stars did not waste time in showing Lavagne the door, arguing that the employer-employee relationship had broken down. Stars have now gone five more games without a win since Lavagne’s departure. They lost once to Kaizer Chiefs and drew four.
Allan Freese (Highlands Park)
Matches: P(5) W(1) D(1) L(3) Pts(5)
Freese was shown the door after only five games in charge and following a 4-1 loss to SuperSport United. Although he could always argue that he was on the right track after amassing four points from five games, it was not to be as the axe fell.
He would have felt hard done by. Freese was not doing badly, considering that he had just promoted the club into the Premiership.
Roger De Sá (Ajax Cape Town)
Matches: P(6) W(0) D(2) L(4) Pts(2)
It did not come as a complete surprise when De Sá threw in the towel last week as results were not forthcoming. In fact, Ajax are the only side to still register a victory this season. The Urban Warriors have been struggling for form since winning last season’s MTN8 – which they failed to defend after finishing outside the top-eight bracket. Two points in six games was not a good return on investment and something had to give.
Serame Letsoaka (Bloemfontein Celtic)
Matches: P(6) W(1) D(2) L(4) Pts(5)
His departure follows a string of poor results. In fact, Letsoaka was lucky to survive the chop last season. But he still failed to use his lifeline this season, with only a single victory to show for his tenure.
However, the club management should also shoulder the blame for the team’s poor showing after letting go of experienced players.