Steve Komphela wasn’t exaggerating when he said the life of a coach has two doors, entrance and exit.
But the impatient nature of club owners has made those doors feel like one due to how quick they are to open one door and shut the other behind what they feel is an under-performing coach.
That’s why Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits must be applauded for the time they’ve given their coaches, who in return repaid by making history with the clubs.
Pitso Mosimane, who has been at Sundowns for five years, gave the Brazilians their first Caf Champions League title last year and went on to win the Caf Super Cup this year, having also added two league titles to stretch their collection to seven in the PSL era.
That’s three less than the 10 Mosimane wants to take the Tshwane club to.
While he was doing that, Gavin Hunt gave Wits their first league title in almost a century.
But the problem with being a pioneer is that you have to constantly reinvent yourself to stay ahead, something Hunt has struggled with this season, to make the notion that he has a shelf life seem true.
The Clever Boys have made a mess of their title defence, sitting second from bottom after nine matches, having also given away the MTN8.
Wits have been hit by a number of injuries that have depleted their squad, but they still have enough depth to be competitive and not produce the miserable results they have.
But to get there, Hunt has to improve on how he takes his team to the next level after guiding them to the top.
The reigning Coach of the Year showed that problem at SuperSport United after his impressive haul of three successive league titles that’s unmatched by any other coach.
What is more impressive is that he did that with a team that lost their star players almost every season.
But Matsatsantsa a Pitori didn’t graduate to the next level after conquering the country, which led to a disappointing fourth season under Hunt.
It should have been easier with Wits as they kept the core of the squad that won the league and added experience to the mix.
Hunt redeemed himself in his fifth season at SuperSport with the Nedbank Cup to rake an impressive four trophies in five seasons.
But SuperSport never came close to breaking their glass ceiling of being a good domestic team under Hunt.
They are on the brink of doing that this month without him in the Caf Confederation Cup final.
Hunt has done a lot of good with Wits. He took them from a team that didn’t even think about the championship to finishing in the top three in his first three seasons, before winning the prize in the fourth season.
But instead of going forward, Wits have retreated, with Moeneeb Josephs slamming his teammates’ hunger and fighting spirit following their elimination in the semi-finals of the MTN8.
That moving speech by Josephs deserves to be heard by both the players and the coach.
The Wits players need to know that winning the league isn’t the ultimate but there are bigger and better things out there. Hunt needs to work on how he keeps players after pushing them to reach beyond their limits.
That process of Hunt pushing his players is a bruising and gruelling battle from a hard-to-please coach. Weak players don’t survive; the strong ones have bruises and winner's medal to show for it.
This is going to be a defining season for the Clever Boys as it will test their resolve.
They have to show they are worthy champions by how they fight.
So far they haven’t done that. It will require not only the players, but also the coach to step up to turn things around. Hunt recently said he found defending the league easier than winning it for the first time.
To win it the first time, he had to take SuperSport and Wits out of their comfort zones and into a world where nothing is impossible.
Moving to the next level after retaining it requires reinventing yourself to look beyond being a good team to being a great one.
If he can’t do that, he might find himself opening the exit door as he has created a certain level of expectation at Milpark.