DURBAN – AmaZulu have parted ways with their Zimbabwean coach Joey Antipas a week ahead of the resumption of the 2017/18 Absa Premiership season.
The KZN club confirmed the departure of Antipas in a statement on Tuesday evening.
“AmaZulu FC, Joey Antipas and his assistant Prince Matore have reached an agreement to terminate their working relationship for the coming season on mutual consent.
“Former Platinum Stars and Supersport United head coach Cavin Johnson has been appointed as replacement with immediate effect. An announcement regarding the assistant coach role will be made by the end of the week.
“AmaZulu general manager Lunga Sokhela has thanked the Zimbabwean mentors for their contribution to Usuthu. ‘We’d like to wish Mr Antipas and Matore the best of luck in their future endeavours. We thank them for their time spent with us,’ said Sokhela.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Independent Media reported that Antipas was on his way out of AmaZulu.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday) Antipas will no longer be the coach of AmaZulu,” a source close to the club told Independent Media.
“The club management has been very dejected by the manner in which the preparations for the new season have been conducted. The coach clearly had no plan. Cavin Johnson is set to take over the reigns. Roger de Sa is also in the mix, but Johnson is the hot favourite to take over as AmaZulu coach,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed.
Johnson parted ways with Platinum Stars midway through last season, while De Sa spent all of last season jobless after his departure from Ajax Cape Town.
Antipas took over the reigns at AmaZulu at the beginning of last season. He caught the eye of AmaZulu after doing wonders with Zimbabwean outfit Chicken Inn in the Caf Champions League. At Usuthu, he replaced Steve Barker.
He commenced the season with a bang, but stumbled as it went on. AmaZulu failed even to secure a place in the playoffs despite the support he got from management who bought him decent players, among them Mabhudi Khenyeza and Doggett Nyundu.
But the club then bought the Premiership status of National First Division (NFD) champions Thanda Royal Zulu and it is they, instead of Amabhubesi, who will be campaigning in the elite league.
“The club feared that if they persisted with this guy, the club will find itself fighting to avoid relegation.”
AmaZulu have been unconvincing in their pre-season matches. They succumbed 2-1 in the quarter-final to Uthongathi (the ABC Motsepe League champions) in the KZN Premier’s Cup.
They also lost to Bloemfontein Celtic in the final of the Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup in Ulundi.
AmaZulu begin their return to the Premiership with a clash against Free State Stars on August 19 at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium.