Maritzburg United have become the latest PSL club to enlist an all-South African technical team after they roped in former Bafana Bafana internationals Delron Buckley and Rowen Fernandez to their coaching staff.
The Team of Choice have followed Kaizer Chiefs, who this week appointed local coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard as assistants to Gavin Hunt.
Mamelodi Sundowns led the way several years ago with Pitso Mosimane heading a technical bench that included Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena and Wendel Robinson.
Sudesh Singh, the SA Football Coaches Association head of high performance, said it was a positive sign to see local coaches being given opportunities.
“Sundowns have proven that South African coaches can be successful. That’s a progressive move by Chiefs and Maritzburg for going local,” said Singh, who is also a member of the Safa technical committee.
He, however, pleaded with the clubs to empower the coaches so that they adjust to the pressures that come with the job.
“We might be happy that we are empowering the local coaches but are we preparing them for the pressures? It’s a double-edged sword because as much as they are expected to show the South African identity in their teams’ play, our country and the continent at large still don’t provide for coaching content that speaks to local conditions.
Coaching principles are universal but the training methodology must be designed to the specifics of a country or region, to achieve a sustainable long term success.”
Singh said the local appointments could influence the style of play in the domestic league, citing Sundowns as an example. “At the end of the day, the proof is what you can do on the field of play,” he said.
In unveiling Buckley and Fernandez on Tuesday, Maritzburg chairperson Farook Kadodia said: “As ambitious and energetic up and coming coaches, we are confident that their experience and coaching ability will be a big asset to our club.
“The two appointments were made in consultation with head coach Eric Tinkler and we expect that they will slot in seamlessly into our technical team.”
The pair, both 42, join Tinkler and his assistant Vincent Kobola, on two-year contracts with the Pietermaritzburg-based club.
Apart from representing Bafana, Buckley and Fernandez at the height of their playing careers plied their trade in Germany.
Buckley returns to Maritzburg where played between 2012 and 2014, before he hung his boots.
Former Chiefs goalkeeper Fernandez last worked for Highlands Park as the now defunct club’s goalkeeper coach. He had a similar role at Orlando Pirates.
Meanwhile, Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung said the club would give their technical team “all the necessary support they require”.
“The wealth of experience among the three gentlemen [Hunt, Zwane and Sheppard] is what we need to ensure we compete and build a strong team.”