Coach hurt by 'very harsh' Uthongathi ban

GladAfrica Championship

Uthongathi FC head coach Johnny Ferreira has broken his silence about the club's decision to suspend him.

Ferreira, who played a major role in transforming the KwaZulu-Natal outfit into title contenders, was suspended for one match by the club management on Monday after the loss to Swallows FC.

It was only the GladAfrica Championship log leaders' second loss of the season in 14 matches.

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"I'm suspended until December 28th, that's what they have told me, and the official reasons haven't been given to me," Ferreira tells

"But it sounds like there were decisions taken during the game versus Moroka Swallows, which the club was not happy with. I don't know... maybe substitutions, I don't know. It sounds like they are unhappy with the substitutions, it sounds like there's an insinuation that every time I make a substitution we either lose a match or we go back within a match.

"So that's the story I'm told. It's not officially in black and white to me. That the substitutions I make during the match are not satisfactory, and therefore I'm suspended till the 28th of December. It's quite pathetic man.

"I don't know clearly if the achievements we've accomplished so far are not good enough for the club. It's clear that my experience and my work hasn't helped them or supported them to the number one position. Maybe they think there's other reasons for the club getting to number one, and I must respect that. If that is their opinion I must respect it. But nonetheless it's frustrating and very, very disappointing for me.

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"I don't know, I don't know [if he will definitely come back in January]. I have been told verbally that I must be back on the 28th of December. Ja, they might change their mind, it's out of my control boss, it's out of my control. Well I'll cross that bridge when I get there hey... and if they don't want me back, then they don't want me back, it's as simple as that. I'll move on and I'm sure there's many other clubs in the NFD that will take me pretty rapidly huh.

"And listen, it's a major achievement brother. This club was 14th, 15th when I got here two years ago hey, and we took it to fifth last year, they are now number one. I mean what do you want? I'm not perfect. If I make changes and they are not suitable or satisfactory it's not the end of the world.

"Should have said on Monday 'John, we are not happy, let's try something different, let's put our heads together' you know. But the suspension is harsh hey. The suspension is harsh brother. The reason for the suspension is not valid.

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"We make mistakes man, we make mistakes, we are human beings you know. However, I consulted with my assistant coach Pitso Dladla during the match, right up until the 95th minute. We always consult one another on substitutions you know. I consult with my goalkeeper coach Makhosonke Ndlovu and Pitso Dladla all the time."

Ferreira was asked why he thinks both his assistants were not suspended if indeed they consulted with each other before making every substitution during the Swallows game, and if by saying that he thought they were stabbing him in the back.

"I wouldn't know, I wouldn't know. I don't speak Zulu so I wouldn't know what is being said behind my back. I hope not hey, I hope not...

"I was given my assistant coach, I was persuaded to use that assistant coach Pitso Dladla, and I gladly accepted that person on the condition that he's prepared to learn, and I'm giving him carte blanche. He's got full empowerment credentials from me, he can do whatever he wants to do, say whatever he wants to say, tell me what he thinks we can do to change something."

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Does he think there is someone trying to force him out of the club?

"It feels like it," Ferreira replied. "It feels like something is trying to kick me out of the club, it feels like it, I don't know if it is. But it feels like it. That you take the team to number one and suddenly this comes up...

"And you've got the most important game of the year against JDR you know, and then you say I must come back on the 28th of December. We've got Ajax on the 4th of January. Every PSL coach I've spoken to can't understand either."

Uthongathi CEO Jackson Mojapelo refused to comment any further on the matter.

"Unfortunately I cannot comment any further about that," he says. "We've just suspended the coach for one game, that's all."