Tough task ahead for Heric


Not only does the man have to satisfy the hard-to-please Nelson Mandela Bay‘s soccer- starved fans by winning home games, but he also has to ensure that United, the Eastern Cape‘s only top-flight outfit maintains its hard-won PSL status – and wins the league in the not too distant future, reports the Herald newspaper.

But winning the league is a tough call. Heric is well aware of this and refused to be drawn into making any promises.

“I don‘t like to promise too much, I like to deliver, I just deliver. As coach, I will do my all, and my best to keep the reputation of the team, and to keep it in the PSL,” the coach said in an interview with the newspaper.

Heric (42), was lured into South African soccer by former Orlando Pirates coach Kosta Papic.

Upon his arrival in the country some four years ago, Heric joined Pirates, where he stayed for four months, learning the dynamics of South African soccer.

In April 2005, Heric received his first assignment when he was lured to Limpopo to rescue Black Leopards and haul them out of the relegation zone.

He duly steered Black Leopards out of the danger zone and helped the club maintain their PSL status.

At the beginning of the 2005/06 season, First Division outfit City Pillars, also based in Limpopo, made Heric their head coach.

“I had the time of my life there and made it to the play- offs, but unfortunately we didn‘t make it to the PSL. We lost against Benoni Premier United, now Maritzburg United,” Heric said.

Thereafter the coach was on another rescue mission at OR Tambo Cosmos, in Mthatha, where he was later fired because he would not do what a sangoma wanted him to do in order for the team to win a match.

“Personally, I don‘t believe in sangomas. I don‘t mind if players do, but not for me.”

Before being tempted to the Bay to coach United, Heric had a stint at Maritzburg United in KwaZulu Natal, where he was axed for under-performance.

Of soccer in the Bay, he said: “Youth development structures are of absolute importance. You have to have football academies and serious annual tournaments across the province. In Europe, they succeed because of development. They invest huge millions into development. We don‘t do that in this country, and it‘s a problem.”

Another problem, he said, was the issue of coaches.

“In this country, people become coaches by legend – often with no knowledge of soccer. In Europe, coaching is studied at university like any other profession.”