Coaches are king

2014-05-18 15:00

Having to juggle his resources based on player form, injuries, suspensions and opponents brought Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s tactical brilliance to the fore.

He knew how to win, turning an underachieving Sundowns side into champions – and proving he is a cut above the rest of his peers in the PSL.

Under Jingles’ shrewd stewardship, the Brazilians were unbeaten in their last 11 league games, a run that eventually landed Sundowns their first piece of silverware in seven years.

After taking the league by storm in his maiden season, Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter failed to replicate those heroics, as Chiefs failed to defend their league and Nedbank Cup titles.

Baxter’s undoing was his inability to raid the transfer market and strengthen the team. In the end, Chiefs were just too predictable.

Bidvest Wits improved one spot from last season’s fourth as they gelled immediately in Gavin Hunt’s debut season. Hunt accumulated more points than his predecessors had ever done – 56 – and transformed Wits into a more balanced team.

It’s difficult to rate Vladimir Vermezovic, who inherited an Orlando Pirates team from Roger de Sá that hit a slump after losing three Cup finals.

Clive Barker has proved he still has bite, with his Mpumalanga Black Aces finishing in the top eight in their first season back in top-flight football.

The same cannot be said about Steve Barker, as University of Pretoria could not match the giant-killing exploits of their maiden season in the PSL.

AmaTuks finished outside the top eight, an underachievement by the standards they had set.

Cavin Johnson started the season brilliantly at SuperSport United but the wheels soon came off and they had to win their last game against Polokwane City to secure a spot in the top eight, something that could cost Johnson his job.

Platinum Stars also had a promising start under Allan Freese but the 2012/13 runners-up could only seal eighth position after winning the MTN8 Cup and the Telkom Knockout.

It was business as usual for perennial strugglers Moroka Swallows. The Birds just could not fly out of the danger zone and Zeca Marques will be lucky to stay on as boss.

De Sá and Craig Rosslee will have to dig deeper if they are to survive the chop after failing to finish in the top eight. And Boebie Solomons’ fate could be decided by whether Polokwane City retain their Premiership status via the ongoing promotional play-offs.

Steve Komphela managed the task of steering Maritzburg United out of relegation and so did Ernst Middendorp, who guided Bloemfontein Celtic to sixth.

Kinnah Phiri must be smiling after helping Free State Stars avoid the play-offs with just 90 minutes to spare.

Sadly, Shaun Bartlett could not save Golden Arrows from going down. To be fair, relegation was inevitable when he took over as caretaker coach in February.

Graphic – South Africa’s best coaches

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