Why AmaZulu sacked coach Neil Tovey

2010-06-29 00:00

AMAZULU’s decision to terminate coach Neil Tovey’s contract yesterday was largely due to clash of opinions in as far as taking the club forward.

Confirming the news to The Witness, but without wanting to be drawn into further comments, Amazulu director Graham O’Connor said: “We had different opinions [with Tovey] on the vision we want for the club going forward. Neil is a good guy, but unfortunately we had to take the decision that will suit the club’s interests. At the moment we are busy with negotiations with a new coach whom I believe will be unveiled some time next week.”

Poor working relations with the players (which resulted in fan favourite Bafo Biyela leaving the club early in the season after complaining bitterly about Tovey’s favouritism), lack of attention to development and lack of being tactically sound, are some of the reasons that contributed to Tovey being relieved of his duties.

Tovey’s sacking yesterday strengthened rumours that unsettled Lamontville Golden Arrows mentor Manqoba Mngqithi is set to take over the reins. Mngqithi’s contract with Arrows runs out at the end of June and no talks have taken place as yet.

And while the AmaZulu management’s move for Mngqithi’s signature may seem rather bizarre given Arrows’ dismal performance last season, The Witness has established that his attention to detail with coaching matters and his approach has endeared him to Usuthu bosses.

Despite operating on a tight budget, Mngqithi transformed Arrows into an enterprising side in the PSL. Mngqithi’s fondness for promoting youngsters to the first team and an astute tactical approach paid off handsomely when he scooped the MTN 8 in emphatic fashion, thumping Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in Johannesburg last year.

Bizzarely, Abafana Besithende endured a downward spiral after that cup triumph, resulting in them finishing in 12th position on the log. This means they will not be able to defend the MTN 8 trophy.

Taking over from Clive Barker, who had done incredibly well by putting the club in the top eight during last term, Tovey failed dismally to steer the club in the right direction. He led Usuthu to two cup semi-finals (MTN 8 and Telkom Knockout), finished ninth on the log and ended up as Nedbank Cup runners-up (lost 3-0 to Bidvest Wits).

With around R4 million pumped into the club by Spar last season, it emerged yesterday that a trophy-less campaign was a bitter pill to swallow for the financial backers.

Arrows chairperson Mato Madlala recently revealed that she is looking to bring a foreign coach to “strengthen the team’s technical staff”.

Tovey appeared dumbfounded by his sacking yesterday, saying: “I was just told about two hours ago that my services are no longer needed by the club. I can’t tell you why I was fired, but maybe the club management can give you the story.”

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