Downs coach gives in to fans

2011-02-05 18:54

Mamelodi Sundowns supporters won the first round of their ongoing brawl with the club’s hierarchy when their demand to see the back of coach Antonio Habas was met yesterday.

Ian Gorowa has been named as the interim coach and will be assisted by Harold “Jazzy Queen” Legodi and Harries Chueu.

Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe announced that Habas told the club on Friday that his family was reeling from trauma following last weekend’s incident at Lucas Moripe Stadium when supporters threatened the coach with violence and instructed him to leave the club.

“He told me that his wife had to go to hospital because of what she saw last Sunday. The coach was sad and emotional as he did not want to leave but because of the family pressure he had to step down,” said Motsepe.

But Motsepe pointed out that as much as supporters were the lifeblood of the club, no one had the right to intimidate the technical team or anybody associated with the team.

“Sundowns is owned by the supporters and it belongs to them. They have the right to demonstrate peacefully. But they have to respect the rules and regulations of the club. There are structures to follow if they are not happy about anything and we will always listen to them.”

Motsepe had scheduled meeting with the chairpersons of all the club’s Gauteng branches at Chloorkop yesterday, but the disgruntled supporters also made their way to the club’s headquarters, still carrying placards demanding the resignation of general manager Kenneth Makhanya and Trott Moloto.

Motsepe admitted there were problems in the administration, but said they did not amount to a crisis.

On the issue of striker Katlego Mphela, who has been AWOL for the past fortnight trying to force a move to Europe, Motsepe said the club would never stop players from leaving.

“Our position is that if Katlego must go, we must let him go. It is not good for the morale in the team to have an unhappy player.

“Nobody is bigger than Sundowns. The question now is how we make this as mutually beneficial and as painless for everyone involved as possible.

“If he had said this earlier during the window period, I would have said let him go. Come the open season he must go.”

Motsepe said he was already at peace with himself that the Bafana striker would no longer play for the club.

“If Katlego never plays for Sudowns again I would be happy and would accept and support that. I have made peace personally with the fact that he may never play for Sundowns again. I cannot and should not keep a player who wants to go but there is a disciplinary process that he has to follow.”

He said the club had the right to turn down offers but also conceded that clubs seldom get what they want for players and sometimes have to compromise.

“We don’t need money for Katlego. We can let him go and lose money. The dominant issue is to maintain the integrity, discipline and morale in the club,” concluded Motsepe.

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