NO SOONER has she parked her Honda sedan at Jozi’s Killarney Mall than she starts complaining about her cellphone. It rings incessantly as she makes her way through the centre and she finally turns it off in a huff.
“Eish,” Gugu Marawa fumes, sitting down at a coffee shop and ordering a café latte. “Ever since that story made the newspapers my phone hasn’t stopped.”
That story is, of course, about Gugu quitting her job as Bafana Bafana assistant team manager after almost a decade with Safa. But it’s her reasons for quitting that have really set tongues wagging: she can’t stay a moment longer, she says, because she cannot stand new coach Pitso Mosimane.
“I really don’t want to get into the details of who did what,” the feisty 43-year-old says. “But we shelved our differences for the sake of the team and now that he’s coach, I must go. My opinion doesn’t mean Pitso is a bad coach. It just means I can’t work with him. If you’d asked Pitso before the story came out whether he could work with me, he would also have said ‘no’. That’s just the reality.”
Their relationship started to deteriorate three years ago, Gugu says, ignoring the latte that’s growing cold in front of her, and it just didn’t make sense for her to stay on. “In life and work you choose the environment you want to work in. I simply don’t want to work in that environment any more,” says the older sister of sports presenter Robert Marawa and top model Vanessa Marawa.
Gugu’s road now leads to KwaZulu-Natal, where she will join Durban-based Premier Soccer League team Golden Arrows as the general manager. Arrows is owned by Mato Madlala, who has been trying to recruit Gugu for years. The two are among the few women in SA football and Gugu can’t wait to work with Madlala and spend time with her KZN-based family.
“Mato’s vision is to see Arrows grow and her passion for development is impressive. I look forward to the new challenge in a women’s environment,” she says.