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Mandla Ncikazi on what went wrong at Maritzburg United

Posted: 17 December 2017 Time: 10:00

Golden Arrows coach Mandla Ncikazi feels he was up against it during a brief spell as head coach of Maritzburg United. 

Ncikazi was appointed Maritzburg coach at the beginning of 2015/16 after his friend Steve Komphela was lured to Kaizer Chiefs following the departure of Stuart Baxter at Naturena.

Ncikazi only lasted five games in the hotseat as he failed to register a win.

However, he draws encouragement from seeing the likes of Siphesihle Ndlovu, Evans Rusike, Deolin Mekoa and Mohau Mokate develop into key players for the Team of Choice.

Asked if he could have done better at the KwaZulu-Natal outfit, Ncikazi pointed out the challenges he faced at the time.

“Nobody has ever asked me this question and you are the first to ask me this question. But as a coach you cannot be seen as making excuses because nobody listens to that,” Ncikazi tells ahead of his side's clash with Maritzburg at Princess Magogo Stadium this afternoon (15h30).

“The truth is when I took over from Steve Komphela, eight players had left the club and we had to get players at short notice. But out of the players that had left it was so unfortunate for me that there were no defenders left in the team.

“Brian Onyango, his work permit didn’t come on time; John Paintsil didn’t have his work permit; Evans Rusike didn’t have his work permit, Kwanda Mngonyama was released by Sundowns after I left the club... I had two defenders.

“Three days before an official match against Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 I got Thami Teyise from SuperSport on loan and on his arrival I had to play him.

“I don’t blame management. Whatever was happening was not the fault of Maritzburg management but it was issues beyond anybody’s control. But the truth is, do I feel I could have done better? Yes. With a full quota of players I believe in my abilities.

“Two of those players that I signed are the best players at the club currently which says my judgement was not wrong in me signing those players. I could have played them but that didn’t happen.”

Ncikazi is proud of the work he has done in the last two years with Clinton Larsen at Abafana Bes'thende, who finished in the top eight last term for the first time since 2009 and have blooded a number of youngsters.

“I’ll be honest with you, based on what we have, as a coach you must always be ambitious and we are ambitious,” Ncikazi says.

“We want to do better, we want to be better coaches. We want the players to be better in our presence, we want the team to do well in our presence, but I would think we have passed since we came here, considering we found Arrows as a new team that had just been promoted from the NFD. The team is now more established in the PSL. The team is highly competitive whether you are playing home or away.  

“If you look at a list of the home grown Arrows players that are in the senior team it makes you proud.

“We are not a Mamelodi Sundowns that can buy success and glory but again you still want to do well with the home grown players. So the objectives are different. 

“I can give us a pass mark but there’s always room for improvement from everybody.”

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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