Davids joins coach’s staff

2012-02-10 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s club captain and all-time leading goal-scorer Fadlu Davids has been named an assistant coach to Ernst Middendorp as the team concluded the reshuffling of its technical staff on Wednesday.

Davids joins goalkeeper coach Ronnie Kanalelo as an assistant to Middendorp in what is now a watered-down technical team compared to the one that operated under ousted coach Ian Palmer during the first half of the season.

During that time Palmer was assisted by Urban de Kock and Aschwin Sutton, while Kanalelo focused only on the squad’s goalkeepers. De Kock and Sutton left with Palmer and the Team of Choice has been looking for suitable replacements ever since.

“It is not a process that we were going to rush as we wanted to find the right people for the job,” United chairperson Farouk Kadodia told The Witness yesterday.

“The commitment that Fadlu has shown the club over the six years that he has been here has been fantastic and we back him completely.”

At only 30, Davids has had a nightmarish run of injuries over the last two seasons and he only scored one league goal in the first half of the current campaign.

“The club has always known my ambition to become a coach and this was a natural step from my duties as captain,” he said yesterday. “I know the coach and what he expects from his players, so I am expecting it to be a smooth transition.”

Davids said he had been assured by the club that he would be able to attend the Safa coaching courses required to become a professional coach.

“I don’t just want to do the Safa courses but the Uefa courses as well,” he said. “I don’t want to be an ordinary coach so if I am going to do it then I am going to do it at 100%.”

The fact that the technical team is smaller and less experienced than Palmer’s is not of concern to Davids.

“Yes, we are a smaller technical team than the one we had with coach Ian, but Ernst works to a very clear structure and we all know that structure,” said Davids. “He [Middendorp] didn’t want somebody from the outside coming in who didn’t know the team and the players.”

While Davids’s main duties will be to facilitate training, he will remain a registered player in case of an emergency.

“I will be training and staying fit,” he said. “My main task will be to coach, but if there are injuries or suspensions then I will be available to play.”

United are in 11th place in the PSL and just four points off eighth-placed Wits, and a top-half finish is still on the cards this season. But there will be a lot of early pressure on Middendorp, his technical team and the board to prove that the decision to remove Palmer was the correct one.

“We have a young group of guys and we need to get them playing above their potential,” Davids said.

“A top-eight finish for us is the minimum target.”

It has not yet been confirmed who will take over Davids’s role as club captain, though veteran goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters has emerged as the clear favourite.

United next face Wits in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

sport@witness.co.za

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