Every time a new season kicks off, hacks and armchair experts wonder who will be the first manager to be fired, both locally and in England.
The usual suspects, the permanent relegation-fighters, and the newly-promoted lot are usually never far from the firing line, but football has a wonderful way of throwing up the unexpected.
Just last season, Roger Palmgren was the magician at Moses Mabhida Stadium, steering AmaZulu to seventh and a good run in the Nedbank Cup.
The sorry Swede must be desperately looking for the rewind button, because he simply can’t buy a goal – never mind a win – these days.
The formidable Usuthu have become as pap as that favourite South African staple, uphuthu. Everyone is coming in for a happy meal, and their early season form has been so bad that even King Goodwill Zwelithini hauled them in for a tongue-lashing after their 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs.
Only football can turn on a man so suddenly, and poor Palmgren must be seriously contemplating popping over to a local witchdoctor for a slick remedy. As any Bafana supporter worth his vuvuzela will tell you, all you need is a muti-man to cure all of life’s problems.
With all that in mind, you’ve got to hand it to Chippa United. Some will argue that they’ve lost their marbles, but the PSL newcomers must have some serious balls to sack a coach just two matches into the season!
So much for stability and banking on experience. Manqoba Mngqithi must think he is an extra on The Apprentice now, the number of times he has been shown the door in recent seasons. How a club and a coach can have such vastly different visions for the future, barely a month into an agreement, is simply baffling. You’d think they had discussed such details before they drew up the contract.
Alas, the world of football waits for no fool.
Across the pond, Brendan Rodgers thought he was going to greener pastures when he left Swansea for Liverpool, but he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
It’s a strange phenomenon, but some managers are just destined for smaller clubs, where expectations hover around the realistic.
At Liverpool, Rogers promised to bring back the glory days. After the walloping at West Brom, he will probably take whatever he can get against Manchester City on Sunday. Then again, the Reds are usually well up for a tussle with one of the Manchester big boys.
Their record against City last season was favourable, but Rodgers’ challenge is to find a way for his fading stars to have the same hunger when they are playing the lesser lights of the league. That is the hallmark of champions.
And speaking of champs, you are looking at them. That’s right folks, the Sunday Tribune can officially lay claim to being the smartest sports arses in the land.
The SuperSport Media Quiz finals were held at Montecasino this week, and the trophy now resides in KZN.
There was an almighty challenge mounted by the eternal bridesmaids, Cape Town (Stormers), but yours truly, the trusty sports editor (and captain) and a devilish duo who still moonlight on these pages, brought home the bacon.
Mind you, if the lot from the World Anti-Doping Agency had popped in, the levels of alcohol in the team’s system would have seen us banned for life.
Fuelled by a seemingly endless stream of double whiskies, lager and a few, overpriced Appletisers, KZN ended years of pain – and empty hangovers – on a night to remember.
And for the doubters among you, consider the answer to this one, next time you’ve had a few around the fire.
Who was the first German-born winner of a Wimbledon singles title? Answer that in 30 seconds.
No cheating now… – Sunday Tribune