AmaTuks in with a chance thanks to Tlisane Motaung

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
AmaTuks coach Tlisane Motaung has transformed the University of Pretoria outfit into GladAfrica Championships title contenders. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
AmaTuks coach Tlisane Motaung has transformed the University of Pretoria outfit into GladAfrica Championships title contenders. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images


As the old African saying goes, an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.

This was the very same energy that vibrated among the staff when University of Pretoria coach Tlisane Motaung walked into the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, where sports scientist Muzi Maluleke has helped transform the now high-flying AmaTuks side into serious contenders for automatic promotion.

Not that many don’t believe that the 37-year-old, who transformed the club from bottom-half log finishers into title contenders, can lead them to the finish line as champions.

They do. But it is the smallest gap that separates them from co-league title contenders Richards Bay that strikes a level of uneasiness in their hearts on whether Motaung can hold on for dear life in these remaining fixtures.

Richards Bay regained control of the standings with a 2-1 win over Hungry Lions on Saturday, a day after AmaTuks were held to a 1-1 draw by JDR Stars.

It’s been six years since AmaTuks last competed in the elite league. And, like a child who’s been asking their parent for one specific toy for Christmas, Motaung knew that all he had to do was validate them that the league title would be won in this campaign.

David Mazibuko, a manager at Time Out Café at the High Performance Centre, had seen most coaches come and go at AmaTuks since 2004, when he started working at the restaurant as a waiter.

READ: Women’s football comes into its own

The 40-year-old was there when the team gained automatic promotion to the Premiership in the 2012/13 season and then back to the GladAfrica Championship.

Mazibuko needs assurance that the league will come following years and years of waiting. And Motaung gave him that validation.

“As you can see, I am a people’s person,” Motaung says.

“I know most of these staff members in this restaurant by name and this trait of mine has helped me in my career. Even in my coaching, before I put out a starting line-up for any match, I consult with my technical and supporting staff members. I go to the extreme length of even speaking to our kit manager and ask him about what he thinks of the team which I had lined up.

“I do this because I know that these are the very people that my players are most close with and therefore most transparent in their whereabouts and state of mind. This helps me to make far better decisions and, so far, it has worked for us.”

READ: Swiss court orders MaMkhize to pay PSL and Sekhukhune United

What has also worked for Tlisane, whose name means “bring it on”, is that he understood that he would have to bring an all-inclusive approach to his technical department if he was to challenge for the league title this season.

This meant that everybody in his technical staff had to pull their weight and give him what he needed from their respective departments.

The first step was to rope in the right talent and get rid of the heavy legs.

AmaTuks chief scout and club legend Tebogo Monyai was instrumental in this.

He brought in the likes of the Mamelodi Sundowns loaned pair of Luvuyo Phewa and Kaketso Majadibodu, which allowed the club to release veterans Collins Mbesuma and Clifford Ngobeni.

READ: Tim Spirit | African football can do without the scandals

Motaung, who holds KNVB and CAF B coaching licences, wanted to play a high-pressure game with high intensity and aerial power, and these new signings came with the potential of doing just that.

The second step was to get his team to be one of the fittest sides in the league.

Maluleke, who holds a master’s degree in his field and a strength and condition qualification that he attained from Leipzig University in Germany, was key in this.

The third and final step was getting a technical adviser who understood the culture of the club and who wouldn’t mind serving alongside him from the technical bench.

Sammy Troughton, who had helped the team gain promotion in 2012, was okay serving in that capacity.

Monyai, who recommended Motaung to the board before he was appointed head coach after serving on an interim basis last season, said he had never worked with a coach as gifted as Motaung.

READ: Amakhosi join PSL coaching merry-go-round party

“Never in the years of having served in this club has a coach approached me to ask me about how my generation gained promotion for AmaTuks during our playing days here. It is only Tlisane who did that,” said Monyai, a former AmaTuks captain.

“And I told him that, back then, we had a very young, hard running fit team which was very hungry for success. I also told him that we made full use of the university’s facilities in the High Performance Centre. There was a rugby coach who used to work with us on just improving our explosiveness on the pitch.

“He then told me that he wanted the team to go back to its roots, and that’s when he assigned me to assemble that team for him. This was approaching the end of last season. We finished 12th because that team was never Tlisane’s squad. He inherited it from then coach Zipho Dlangalala. When you watch our games now, you see a side playing like they are a side plugged into electricity, and this is what he wanted from the onset.”

Monyai is also confident that his side won’t experience any load shedding in the remaining three league fixtures – two home games and one away.

In the next league match, AmaTuks will take on fifth-placed Venda Football Academy before they face Cape Town Spurs and Hungry Lions.

“I know a lot of people might say that we have tougher remaining fixtures compared to Richards Bay, because a team who are competing for automatic promotion will be playing against us instead of them,” Monyai said.

“We need to collect all the remaining points if we are to win the league. Statistics will tell you that we have never lost a match at home since February after returning from the mid-season break. I don’t see us starting to now lose matches at home. Teams that are the most dangerous to play against are sides that are the bottom and not at the top.”


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Latest issue
Latest issue
All the news from City Press in PDF form.
Read now
Voting Booth
Stats SA's recent consumer price index data this week indicated the rise in food prices was the largest in 14 years. Economists say continued load shedding also adds to the rise in the cost of food production. How are you feeding your family during this tough time?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I have a food garden
7% - 60 votes
I rely on sales
22% - 195 votes
I buy necessities
72% - 650 votes