Johannesburg - Following Platinum Star’s relegation to the National First Division (NFD) this week, a former employee at the club painted a sorry state of affairs at the Rustenburg club.
Dikwena’s 15-year stay in the elite league came to an end following their 2-1 defeat to AmaZulu on Wednesday.
Former general manager Senzo Mazingisa said he was not surprised by the turn of events, claiming the signs were there when he left last year.
Mazingisa, who spent four years at the club, said the writing had been on the wall for a while and it was only a matter of time before the club went down.
Ironically, the last kick that sent them down came from their former coach, Cavin Johnson.
Interestingly, the team that takes their spot in the Absa Premiership, Highlands Park, belongs to their former chairman Larry Brookstone, who held 50% shares in the club some years ago.
Mazingisa said: “I left after only 11 games last year and it was clear then that they would not make it. To me it looked like the owners had already made up their minds that they wanted to get rid of the club.
“From the allocation of funds to support, everything just slowed down and it was clear they wanted out.”
He said the former owners were no longer interested in the club’s success, but rather on matters affecting the nation.
“The focus was no longer on the club but on service delivery. Football was now competing with other priorities that were inclusive, as some people viewed football as an elite sport that did not benefit the entire community but only a few individuals.”
“The team couldn’t retain top talent and couldn’t compete in the market. It was hard to run the club and it was clear they no longer wanted it.”
Stars coach Roger De Sá echoed Mazingisa’s statement, saying he inherited a disjointed team.
However, De Sá, who is part of a consortium that bought the club for about R22.5 million in January from Royal Bafokeng Holdings, said it was time to move on from the blow.
The coach said he had accepted their fate and there was nothing he could do.
Although he said he was not the right person to give a fair assessment of the situation, he believed the challenges go back to about two years ago, when the club was first put up for sale.
“Since then there were lots of uncertainties and the focus wasn’t really there. Last season the club won only one game at home, the last game of the season against SuperSport United. It was a horrible run.”
Despite inheriting players who were low on morale, he said he still believed they could do it.
“I had a hunch we could turn it around. But with every week that went by, the situation was becoming worse.”
He said he does believe their involvement saved the situation.
“If we hadn’t come in, it would have been worse and embarrassing. Everything would have stopped, with players not getting their salaries and other things.”
He said they were not in the club for short term success but for the long haul.
“For us it is more about the future and not a quick fix situation. It is more about football, not status and publicity. I am confident about the future.”
The coach said they knew what they were getting themselves into when they bought the club.
“The club was bottom of the log. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what I put myself into. But it doesn’t help to say we could have or should have done that. It is what it is now.”
He said he could not fault the players for not giving their all.
“The commitment and work ethic was all there and they gave everything. If we had started the season with the same players we have now we could have done better.”
He believes they can bounce back “if we do it the right way”.
“Many clubs have done it. Whether we do it in one, two or three years does not matter. We must have the right foundation.”