Nine coaching changes after 10 matches in the National First Division
Posted: 15 November 2017 Time: 15:30
We are only 10 games into the National First Division season, yet more than half the league’s teams have changed tactician as club bosses show no mercy in their quest for promotion.
Nine of the NFD’s 16 clubs have already made changes in their head coaching department after just a third of the season played – a sign of the ruthless nature of the league as clubs take drastic measures in a desperate attempt to reach the big time.
First to receive the chop was Allan Freese in September, having failed to guide Royal Eagles to victory after four games played. Zipho Dlangalala stepped in, and has since recorded two victories, two draws and two losses, with Eagles now sitting 12th on the log.
A week after Freese’s dismissal, last season’s Absa Premiership-relegated side Highlands Park showed Thierry Mulonzo and Les Grobler the door following three successive losses, and immediately roped in the experienced Owen da Gama to take charge. ‘Rubber Doll’ has since won four games and drawn one to lift the Lions of the North to the summit of South Africa’s second tier, with 19 points after 10 matches.
Next to go was former Kaizer Chiefs defender David Kannemeyer after a less-than-impressive start at Cape Town All Stars. Former Ajax Cape Town Diski Challenge coach Vladislav Heric, who previously helped Chippa United to promotion, is now at the helm, his two losses and two victories since guiding the Cape club to their current ninth position on the log.
Just four days after Kannemeyer’s departure, Roger Sikhakhane – who had guided Thanda Royal Zulu to NFD victory last term – resigned from Richard’s Bay FC, having earned just five points from their opening six games. Sikhakhane has since been linked with a move to Mthatha Bucks.
Having failed to register a victory in his eight games in charge, Roger Links was next to receive the axe as NFD newcomers Ubuntu Cape Town parted ways with their head coach. Two games later, Ubuntu are still winless with the club’s technical director Casey Prince in charge, as the club sits bottom of the log with just five points from 10 matches.
In a bizarre state of affairs, Mbombela United’s Petrus Chauke – who had taken over at the start of the season after head coach Aschwin Sutton did not return after his departure for “family reasons” – was fired at the start of November, with the club confirming that Sutton was back in charge. Mbombela are currently fourth on the table, just three points adrift of top spot.
In another surprising coaching change, Mthatha Bucks – currently sitting 10th on the log – last week announced that they had parted ways with head coach Ian Palmer, who had recently lost his father, with the club explaining that the experienced tactician needed to be closer to his family during this time, thus the decision to let him go. The club are yet to confirm a replacement.
Having recorded just two victories in 10 matches this term, last season’s play-off hopefuls Black Leopards sacked Belgian coach Jean Losciuto, bringing in Ivan Minnaert as his replacement. Losciuto has since penned a deal with Richard’s Bay until the end of the season, filling in the position left vacant following Sikhakhane’s departure.
Tshegofatso Mashego became the latest NFD coach to lose his job, having recorded just two wins while in charge at Super Eagles as they sit precariously in 14th position on the log. Mashego has however remained at the club as an assistant, with Spaniard Antonio Jesus Flores brought in as the new head coach.