Palmer not confident Maritzburg United want him

2008-07-01 00:00

IAN Palmer does not believe Maritzburg United are interested in renewing his contract for the coming Premier Soccer League season, despite the coach having guided the team from the National First Division to the top-flight.

Palmer says he has reliable information that United have been speaking to bigger-name coaches. The coach, who guided United to the NFD title with a 3-1 aggregate defeat of FC AK last week, says he has had indications that the club is not interested in renewing his contract.

“I have heard from a reliable source that Maritzburg United have been talking to Gordon Igesund and Paul Dolezar and I am comfortable with that. If that is the case, they are of course entitled to do so,” Palmer said from Johannesburg yesterday.

“Currently, I am also in talks with the chairman and I will be making a proposal tomorrow [today] to the club through my agent, Ryan Hartslief, and the club will make a counter-proposal.”

Palmer said he will be bitterly disappointed if United decide not to give him a new contract, but will take it in his stride.

“If they decide not to re-sign me, then that will be their business decision, and they will obviously be more comfortable with whoever it is they bring in.

“In that case, I will probably go and spend two weeks at [Swedish club] Helsingborg, which I have an opportunity to do, and I will get my Uefa B licence. Then I will spend about two months educating myself before I start to look for a new job.

“I won’t be too bitter. But I will be disappointed that the club have not been up-front.”

United goalkeeper-coach Pernell McKop said he fears United will not renew the coaching staff’s contracts.

“The management have indicated to me that they might need a more experienced technical team next season. I said to them that I have worked as a goalkeeper-coach in the PSL for three seasons.

“I have even worked higher than that with the Zimbabwean national team, with [German coach] Reinhard Fabisch.”

United chairman Farouk Kadodia has pointed to Palmer’s lack of experience at PSL level, where his most notable position was a stint with relegation-bound Manning Rangers in 2004/05.

However, the club could be playing with fire by not ensuring continuity of coaching staff going into the PSL. Palmer and his technical team — McKop and assistant Ashwin Sutton — were the glue that bonded the PMB team through a tough NFD campaign.

The United players, who are exceptionally loyal to Palmer, would also not be pleased, and would take some winning over to a new coach. Some might not even re-sign with the team should Palmer not get the job.

United, too, have lost sight of their small-club status before, to disastrous effect. This past season, the excellent relationship between the coaches, directors, players, supporters, local government and media has been the key to the team’s success more than any tactical decisions, and it might

be foolish to tamper with that formula.

After winning the NFD, United said they were confident they have learnt from their mistakes they made the last time they were in the PSL.

If they do not re-sign Palmer, then their fans might be concerned that the club has learnt nothing.

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