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Can anyone ever please Royal Eagles chairman Sbu Mpisane?

Posted: 10 February 2018 Time: 11:45

Anyone who takes on the head coaching job at Royal Eagles should live from a suitcase because chairman Sbu Mpisane is hard to please.

Mpisane, who bought the National First Division status of Sivutsa Stars ahead of the 2014/15 campaign with the aim of winning promotion, is not afraid to sack coaches who are not delivering.

There was a huge launch for the club at Moses Mabhida Stadium back in 2014, with the who’s who of KZN in attendance. It was clear from the very beginning that he had big plans for the club. Throughout the years they have signed players such as Mbulelo Mabizela, Katlego Mphela, Dominic Isaacs, Raymond Monama and Phumelele Bhengu hoping that their experience would help guide the club to the top of South African football.

But the coaches who have taken charge of the team have not quite lived up to the expectations of the chairman, despite these acquisitions. looks at the coaches Mpisane has appointed in the different seasons.



The first coach Mpisane appointed at Royal Eagles was Duncan Lechesa, who is now at Mthatha Bucks. Lechesa was sacked after seven games in charge, with a record of one win, four losses and two draws.

Next to take charge of the team was former Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper John Tlali. In the four games he was in charge, Eagles won one and drew three.

Former Bush bucks and Maritzburg United coach Thami Ngubane was next to follow. Ngubane was given more time to impress, but Mpisane wasn’t convinced although he finished the whole season with 21 games in all competitions. He had a record of nine wins, two draws and and 10 defeats. They finished that season 10th on the log.



The club appointed Vladislav Heric for the 2015/16 campaign. The Serbian was in the hotseat for 11 matches, with six wins, three draws and two losses.

He was replaced by former Golden Arrows coach Khabo Zondo, who had a record of six wins, three draws and four losses.

Tlale, who assisted Zondo, returned to the post on a temporary basis with former Arrows captain Bheka Phakathi. They were let go at the end of the season as the club finished fifth.



This is the season Mpisane was determined to win promotion. Kosta Papic was appointed and he started off by winning the pre-season KZN Premier’s Cup in Umhlathuze.

He did fairly well that season until an illness forced him to step down and return to Serbia. He was in charge of 26 matches, winning 11, losing nine and drawing six.

While Papic was away, Eagles appointed former Platinum Stars coach Allan Freese, who had helped Highlands Park win promotion the previous campaign. He was in charge until the end of the season. He oversaw five matches as Eagles finished fourth, narrowly missing out on the play-offs.



Freese was then given the job on a permanent basis at the start of the season. He was described as the right man to lead the club to the PSL, but he left four matches into the season after two draws and as many defeats. In came Zipho Dlangalala, Pirates’ former MultiChoice Diski Challenge coach, as caretaker. He won two matches, drew four and lost three.

Papic returned in December and brought in Heric as his assistant. Papic was removed from the position this week following a run of three wins, four draws and one loss.

Roger Sikhakhane is now in charge. Mpisane was said to have been eyeing him even before the season started after he guided the now-defunct Thanda Royal Zulu to PSL promotion last season. There’s no chance of winning promotion this season for 14th-placed Eagles, but if given time Sikhakhane can certainly succeed. But is Mpisane going to be patient? Only time will tell. Right now it’s just about avoiding relegation.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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