Cape Town - Dan Malesela's long-term future at Chippa United is in serious doubt after the head coach was placed on leave by the Premiership strugglers.
After a blistering start to life with the Chilli Boys upon his arrival from National First Division outfit Cape Town All Stars, the eccentric coach drew plaudits from local media for leading the unfancied side from Port Elizabeth to a sixth placed finish.
This season started well for Malesela and his troops, and with three wins from their first five games this form led to rumours of the tactician moving on to a bigger club in the league.
Nonetheless, since then, results have deteriorated and Chippa find themsleves firmly embroiled within a relegation scrap, in 12th place - two points off the drop zone after the 3-2 loss to Maritzburg United on Tuesday evening.
"Yes, I have been placed on leave, it's not specific, but I'm still an employee of the club," Malesela confirmed with Soccer Laduma.
Assistant Mbuyiselo Sambu looks set lead the side in a crucial fixture against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.