It looks as if Marumo Gallants have their own version of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
In local football, these are nicknames given to Mamelodi Sundowns coaches Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela.
Gallants are now the latest club to employ a trio of coaches. The team raised eyebrows on Friday when they had a surprise coach in charge of their CAF Confederation Cup match against AS Vita at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Safa coaching instructor Raymond Mdaka was the head coach of the team for that match, which they won 2-1 over the Congolese side.
A brace from Celimpilo Ngema secured their crucial first-leg victory.
David Mathebula and Mpho Maleka had to make way because they did not possess CAF coaching badges.
The club’s technical team is in disarray following the successive departures of coach Sébastien Migné and assistant coach Jean Luscuito in the space of a month.
Mdaka was roped in to rescue the situation after the club had no qualified coach to take charge of the match, as CAF rules require head coaches to have either a CAF or Fifa qualification to be on the bench. Even their technical director, Harris Choeu, does not qualify.
Attempts to get comment from Gallants chairperson Abram Sello were unsuccessful.
Following the victory, Maleka – who sat on the bench as the assistant coach – praised the team’s performance.
“Overall, we’re happy with them. The players followed the game plan and we only need to look at where to improve. We conceded a goal, which wasn’t good. We did the same thing in the domestic league against Kaizer Chiefs. We played against a team who were one man down and we failed to capitalise on that advantage,” said Maleka.
“However, this has bolstered our morale for the coming games. We’re really proud of our victory. The away game will be difficult, so we need to come up with a better plan for it. This is a victory from which we’re going to build.”
Despite their chaotic situation, Marumo were the only South African team, out of three, to secure a victory in the CAF competition on Friday.
Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu disappointed in their matches, as they played to goalless draws in their respective encounters.
Pirates picked a crucial draw away to Diables Noirs in their first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup second-round match on Friday, while AmaZulu also failed to score when they shared the spoils with TP Mazembe in the Champions League at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Meanwhile, Mngqithi, Mokwena and Komphela will be looking to lead Sundowns to the group stages of the Champions League.
Sundowns will commence their campaign against AS Maniema Union at Stade des Martyrs in the Democratic Republic of Congo this afternoon (4pm).
Downs start the competition in the second preliminary round after receiving a bye in the previous one. The team have been in fine form in domestic football, having reached the final of the MTN8 and remaining undefeated in the DStv Premiership.
Mokwena said their technical team had done their homework about their opponents.
“We know the profile of the opponents. We know their personality. They attack directly, with very aggressive wing play and overlapping movements of the fullbacks. Their strikers are very quick. The work’s been done and we’re looking forward to the encounter,” said Mokwena.
“We have a responsibility to the club and the country to do well. Our aim is to be objective and do our work with the utmost diligence.”