So much for local coaches not being good enough: SA’s awesome foursome ride CAF wave
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Johannesburg - So much for local coaches not being good enough! The general tendency by our Premiership clubs to rush to Europe in search of coaches tells the story of a country not confident in their own.
But if the local men were not good enough, why is it that a quarter of the coaches who will be contesting the 16-team CAF Champions League group stages will be South African?
It is a remarkable feat hitherto not achieved since our readmission to international football in 1992, one that should have us excitedly looking ahead to the resumption of the mini-league phase of the continent’s premier club knockout competition in February.
And believe me I am not just referring to the Mamelodi Sundowns coaching trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela plus AmaZulu’s Benni McCarthy when I say we will be having four coaches carrying our flag in the Champions League. For me, the trio counts as one.
Apart from the two clubs that will be representing the Premiership, there are also two other clubs outside the borders led by South Africans.
No doubt you’re aware that Pitso Mosimane will be out to help Al Ahly hold on to their title. But there’s another lesser known South African coach who will be shouting instructions from the sidelines Morena Ramorebodi of Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy who are debutants in the group stages.
Surely the South African Football Association (Safa) should be shouting from the rooftop about this development that seems to suggest that their technical courses are bearing fruit. Damn they should be finding a way to link the feat to their much-vaunted Vision 2022 programme.
Of course McCarthy has not done any Safa coaching courses – the AmaZulu boss garnered his coaching badges in Europe. But that shouldn’t stop Safa from celebrating his taking Usuthu as far as he has. After all, Benni’s feat was pretty remarkable – that victory over TP Mazembe being one of the tournament’s biggest shock results, notwithstanding the fact that the multiple African champions are no longer the force they used to be.
But if Benni being in the business end of Africa’s top competition should inspire many young local coaches, what of Ramorebodi leading the little known Galaxy into a stratosphere even they would probably not have dreamed of?
To the uninitiated Ramorebodi is the man who was in charge of Bafana Bafana when they won the Cosafa Cup earlier in the year. He had previously coached in Lesotho’s elite league having also been in charge of Maluti FET College and Royal Eagles.
That he got Galaxy into the group stages was an incredible feat, the Botswana outfit pulling off a shock success over Tanzanian giants Simba. Beaten 2-0 at home in the first leg after Simba scored in the initial six minutes, no one would have given Ramorebodi’s team a chance of turning things around in Dar es Salaam.
And when Simba went into half time 1-0 ahead for a 3-0 aggregate lead, it should have been lights out for Galaxy. But they came back and scored two quick goals in the second half and then found the equalising third goal four minutes from time to win the tie on the away goals rule.
The chances of either of Ramorebodi and McCarthy leading their teams into the knockout stages will be deemed as pretty slim by many. But then again, no one expected them to get their teams this far, did they?
Isn’t it just exciting that our country will have such good representation in the continent’s premier club competition?