Pressing Issues: Ticktock for struggling PSL coaches

2014-09-02 14:00

SuperSport United beat me to the draw, as they say in Western flicks.

I had already started drafting this column when they pulled the trigger on coach Cavin Johnson on Thursday.

My column was going to go something like this: “Given the results of the first few Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches, it will be interesting to see who will be the first coach to be shown the proverbial door.”

I was then going to start looking at potential candidates and Johnson was to be one of them, given he had only won a single match this season.

“That’s not good enough for a club that has won the Absa Premiership on three previous occasions, along with a few other trophies,” I wanted to write.

As a result of this poor start, before last night’s encounter with log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, Matsatsantsa a Pitori were languishing second from the bottom of

the log with a mere three points from four outings.

I was going to write on and say: “In fact, the bottom half of the table makes for some interesting reading and it shouldn’t be long before we witness the usual coaching musical chairs.”

As you might know, the bottom half is where you’ll find names such as Bloemfontein Celtic (ninth), University of Pretoria (10th), Mpumalanga Black Aces (11th), reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns (12th) and Polokwane City (14th).

So your guess is as good as mine that any of those clubs’ coaches would be candidates to follow Johnson.

They include Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, who is under severe pressure.

Just as Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal observed last week – “Two weeks ago, I was the king of Manchester and now I’m the devil of Manchester.” – Mosimane must be feeling how fickle the soccer world, more especially fans, can be.

The Bafana Ba Style mentor was the butt of all jokes this week following Pirates’ sacking of his side 3-0 at Loftus on Wednesday night.

Talk of Clive Barker calling it quits from Black Aces and retiring to balmy Durban also surfaced this week.

The coach was reported to be missing home. Well, being bundled out at the MTN8 quarterfinal stage; and winning one, managing a single draw and losing two league matches, should have the effect of inflicting a certain sense of homesickness.

This is the reality of football across the world.

Unlike a sinking ship, where the captain is expected to be the last to leave, it is the other way around in football as far as coaches are concerned.

Coaches – or managers as our English friends prefer to call them – are usually the first ones to be shown the door when things get messy.

As one clever person once opined: “Just as death and taxes are an eventuality, so is the fact that coaches will be fired.”

It’s the kind of a job in which you never quite know whether you’re coming or going; never entirely sure of your station, as it were.

Another ingredient that makes the South African club football coaching scenario interesting is that one of the most successful individuals in that sphere is currently unemployed.

You’ve guessed right! I’m talking about one Gordon Igesund – he who has bagged four league titles with four different clubs – and whose contract with the SA Football Association expired today.

Talk making the rounds in football circles is that soccer bosses have turned him into a scarecrow.

We are told every time a coach loses a match, a club boss would approach that coach menacingly and then whisper into his ear: “Do you know Gordon Igesund?”

Guess you catch my drift.

How interesting our local football can be at times.

But SuperSport spoiled my fun and I can no longer write that column.

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