Absa Premiership

Lavagne: Rantsi wants a puppet, not a manager

2016-10-10 13:41
Denis Lavagne (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Dennis Lavagne has finally spoken out after his abrupt dismissal at Premiership side Free State Stars.

The French manager joined Ea Lla Koto in the off-season as a replacement for Giovanni Solinas, but was dismissed after only three games in charge.

Solinas has since been reappointed by the club, but Lavagne admits he would like to set the record straight after General Manager Rantsi Mokoena made a few stinging statements upon being relieved from his duties.

While Lavagne acknowledged a manager needs to be held accountable in a results based business, he claims Mokoena and his son may have 'bad memory', or simply want to shy away from their responsibilities at the club.

"If you analyzed the last results with objectivity, the team didn't win since the 13th of March 2016 until the 25 May 2016, 11 games with Solinas, eight PSL and three cup games and you can think the players lost confidence before I joined?," he told Vodacom Soccer in response to claims from Mokoena that he had lost the dressing room.

"Secondly, the pre-season as very complicated because in July the board tried to sell and thought to having sold the club but unfortunately for them and for me, they didn't sell it.

"We wasted time during this period and everyone was very confused.

"The board sold or gave to Pirates the four best young and talented players, so the squad was significantly weakened and we only began to start the recruitment in August during the camp.

"The board asked me to sign only free agents and cheap players because the club didn't have money and when the chairman told me 'we recruited the players you wanted now you must win'. I answered to him; 'we recruited the players you can pay for, not the players I wanted.

"We recruited eight news players, but five of them signed in the last days of August so with the staff we really begun to build the team at the beginning of September. When I said to the chairman, 'I need time to build a strong team, I'm just a football coach not a magician' - he didn't understand me." 

The former Cameroon national team boss went on to explain how he had to deal with training a professional squad on an appalling rugby pitch that injured a few of his squad members during their pre-season preparations.

"We started to train the 4th July on a very bad rubgy field in Bethlelem and this until the 19 July. [Makhehleni] Makhaula, [Sinethemba] Jantjie, Sifiso [Mbhele] were all injured and [Angelo] Kerspuy had his ankle injured which was a serious one.

"Lastly I'm very surprised when Rantsi said 'Frenchman are hard and not open to criticism or advice, and African players are a different bunch and you need to treat them with care.'

"I won many titles and got very good results with a Cameroon side in the Africa Champions League and I won a league title with Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel.

"I think African players are like all the other players in the world and that French coaches are not different like the other coaches in the world but maybe I'm just too professional for him and not a puppet like this board wants.

"I don't think the relationship with the players were bad either but I know it was with the board because I am not a puppet, this board does not want a manager or head coach, they want a puppet.

"We can wonder if the managers or fans of Free State Stars knows where he wants go and especially how? He said the club will go nowhere with me. 

"It's now 16 games without win for this team with three different coaches but the same players and same board, maybe the problem doesn't come to the coaches. 

"But in conclusion I wish the best for the club and fans of Free State Stars and hope a long life in PSL for this club."

Read more on:    free state stars  |  soccer

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