Vladimir Vermezovic would like to continue coaching in South Africa, but remains coy on whether his future lies at Kaizer Chiefs or another club.
Speculation is rife that this is Vermezovic’s last season at the Amakhosi, after a season littered with rumours of player unrest at Naturena.
The fiery Amakhosi coach, well-known to have the odd media tantrum, was in a more relaxed mood in the Johannesburg sunshine on Wednesday, when the inevitable question of his future was raised.
“My contract is expiring in June and everything is in the hands of my agent,” said Vermezovic. So far, so unrevealing.
The Chiefs coach did, however, indicate that he had no problem with Chiefs management talking to other coaches before the end of this season.
Chiefs face Free State Stars in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final, with Stars coach Steve Komphela ironically the man most closely linked to the Amakhosi job.
“Kaizer Chiefs are a serious club, and I have information from my friends that different newspapers have information on other coaches,” teased Vermezovic. “I can’t take it personally, I am a professional. I have a contract with the club, and I will fight until the end. It is normal that Chiefs want to interview different coaches; they can’t wait until the last day.
“I want to win the league and cup and after that we’ll see.”
Vermezovic did confirm that he wants to stay in South Africa, but gave his only preferred destination as the golf course.
“I want to stay in South Africa because it is nice,” he said. “I learnt to play golf and they have a lot of golf courses.”
More immediately, Vermezovic faces a tricky Nedbank Cup tie with Stars in Polokwane. Ea Lla Koto are having an excellent season under Komphela, and were desperately unlucky to lose to Chiefs in a league game at FNB Stadium last December.
Stars were a goal to the good when Arthur Bartman came out of his penalty area and denied a clear goalscoring opportunity with a deliberate handball. For reasons that are difficult to fathom, referee Daniel Bennett chose to only give Bartman a yellow card and Chiefs came back to win that game 2-1.
Bartman is set to be in goal for the Amakhosi again on Saturday, with Itumeleng Khune still out injured. Thomas Sweswe and Reneilwe Letsholonyane are also crocked, while Keegan Ritchie, Bernard Parker and Dominic Isaacs are all suspended.
“We have a couple of players out, but those who will play, I believe have the strength to win the game,” said Vermezovic.
As for the title race, Chiefs are currently six points behind Pirates, with a game in hand, and by no means out of the running if they can find some consistency.
“Last season we were in the title race and we lost it, not in the last game, but in the two or three games before. But to be part of a big club, without trophies, it’s difficult for supporters to understand. They just want trophies, they don’t care about our job during the week.”
Vermezovic also believes that in a league as competitive as South Africa’s, it is impossible to predict a winning points total.
“In this league, you can’t say we need this amount of points, if you look at the results. If we played only 90 minutes, Pirates would be out of the race! They like to score in the 92nd and 93rd minute of games. They won the title last season with a lot of goals in injury time.”