SA coaches deserve a chance

Mushin Ertugral
Mushin Ertugral

In light of Muhsin Ertugral and Ernst Middendorp bouncing back to the premier division, it remains a mystery why PSL clubs are not choosing local coaching talent.

Experts argue that PSL clubs’ tendencies of recycling coaches is the reason domestic coaching talent is easily lost in the system.

A case in point is Teboho Moloi and Dan “Dance” Malesela – coincidentally, both are former Chippa United coaches and Orlando Pirates players – who are not deemed good enough to coach at top-flight clubs, despite their massive contribution to the local game after their retirement as professional players.

There are others, including Harold “Jazzy Queen” Legodi, Donald “Ace” Khuse, Fani Madida, Simon Ngomane, Zipho Dlangalala and Roger Links, to name but a few, who have also vanished from the elite football scene.

“It is sad to see knowledgeable coaches being sidelined,” said Safca technical adviser Sudesh Singh.

The common factor among the aforementioned coaches is that they made every effort to get their coaching credentials.

They have also been an integral part in the development of players at grassroots level.

How does one explain Moloi’s sudden disappearance from top-flight football when he was voted PSL coach of the month while at Chippa just 13 months ago?

Legodi was assistant at Mamelodi Sundowns and Pirates.

Interestingly, the former Pirates assistant coach and Doctor Khumalo were among the first group of former professional players to study coaching abroad. They were sent to Germany by Safa.

Khuse, a Kaizer Chiefs legend, served as an assistant coach for a number of seasons at Amakhosi, but didn’t get a chance to prove himself as the head coach, except for a few times when he was handed a caretaker role.

Renowned development coach and Stars of Africa Academy owner Farouk Khan said: “If South Africans don’t embrace our own, we’ll never grow as a nation, be it in business or sport.”

The former deputy coach at Chiefs reserved special praise for a few foreign coaches who he believes had added value to the local game.

“When you coach the so-called big clubs, you are judged by how much silverware you have won.

“I still believe that there is good local talent out there that can add also add value to our game, but nobody can prove himself without being given the opportunity.”

Khan, who had a stint as head coach at Santos FC in Cape Town, is from the Dumitru school of coaches, which also had Ngomane and Dlangalala among its students.

The late Romanian enjoyed trophy-laden stints with Chiefs and Sundowns, and he was passionate about coaching education, which saw many local mentors subscribing to some of his methodologies and philosophies.

Well-travelled coaches at the helm

Dumitru later established a coaches body called the SA Football Coaches Association (Safca), which was mostly critical of foreign coaches who did not add value locally.

“It is sad to see knowledgeable coaches being sidelined,” said Safca technical adviser Sudesh Singh.

The former Sundowns scout is also one of Dumitru’s graduates.

“But the coaching fraternity is also the reflection of our society, where we are divided along racial lines. Sadly, local black coaches don’t get as fair a share as their white counterparts,” said Singh, adding that “it doesn’t seem this will change soon, but it must be addressed”.

Singh is also of the view that most clubs have lost their identity, which is the reason “they take just anyone to coach”.

“But, again, club bosses can be misdirected by people around them.”

Khan said it was encouraging to see clubs like Cape Town City giving a rookie coach like Benni McCarthy a chance to prove himself.

McCarthy (41) guided City to a fifth-place finish in his maiden season in charge and has already won a trophy and reached two cup finals.

“Some of my colleagues, such as Steve Komphela and Cavin Johnson, as well as young coaches like Fadlu Davids, have done fairly well,” said Khan, who is also a football pundit on TV channel SuperSport.

Experts argue that PSL clubs’ tendencies of recycling coaches is the reason domestic coaching talent is easily lost in the system.

“All we are saying is, let us empower our own.”

Singh added: “At least Pirates have embraced one of our own in Rulani Mokwena, who has done well as an assistant coach. Sundowns also believed in coach Pitso Mosimane and the results are there for all to see.”

Mosimane has always been particularly vocal about local coaches not being given a fair chance in the country’s top-flight football arena.

The 54-year-old and Bidvest Wits’ Gavin Hunt have represented the locals well and are the most recent Absa Premiership winning coaches in charge of leading teams in the league.

As for the likes of Middendorp and Ertugral – who are both at the helm of their sixth premier division clubs – there is still much to prove.

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