JOHANNESBURG - Technical director! It is a pretty fancy title. And used in its true sense of the word, implies the bearer of the title is in charge of all coaching matters at a particular club or even for the national team or association.
He is the one who decides the outfit’s direction, the one who manages and oversees all the players and coaching developments, as well as ensuring all coaches follow the team's curriculum and implements the team's philosophy and playing style.
Some will refer to him as ‘the boss of coaches’.
In the PSL, though, technical directorships have generally equated to 'a coach in waiting'. Over the years, many a club have hired men under the guise of technical directors, only to fire their coaches thereafter and give the job to the so-called technical director.
So, should Kgoloko Thobejane start fearing for his job?
The sceptics among us will say he should. After all, wasn’t the Baroka FC coach shunted to the sidelines last season to make way for Jacob Sakala and Edward Williams, as well as technical director Mark Harrison, who all led the side?
Now with Baroka having appointed Doctor Khumalo as their technical director, one wonders as to what the future holds for Thobejane.
Of course, the club has said they have appointed the Kaizer Chiefs legend to oversee their technical department and not to take over, lest Thobejane start struggling. Let’s wait and see.
I must say though that it was a pretty unexpected appointment, surprising and to some extent shocking even. Khumalo leaving Chiefs for any other local club is not something any soccer fan would have thought of, given it is the club he grew up at to become the legend he is.
And then there is the fact that the man they called 16V is honestly yet to prove himself as a top coach, which made the elevation to technical director all the more baffling.
Granted, there is no rule that says one has to be a great coach first before being a technical director. Yet, you would think that if one is to be the ‘boss of coaches’, they need to have coached and hopefully achieved more than those coaches had, to be taken seriously.
But then again, logic and South African football have never really been bosom buddies, have they?
And so it was to a man revered more for his playing than his coaching, that Khurishi Mphahlele turned to as he seeks to help his club not only avoid last season’s relegation scrap - which they survived via the play-offs - but to also establish themselves as an integral part of the elite league.
Purely on what he achieved as a player, there can be no denying that Mdokies will inspire confidence and get the Baroka players aspiring and wanting to achieve more.
But as technical director, will he have access to the players that much? Won’t that come across as Thobejane being undermined?
And does he really have the technical know-how for such a lofty position in its true sense of the word? I have my doubts.
But then again, in his time as a member of the Chiefs technical team, Doctor has worked with some accomplished coaches from who he has no doubt learnt a lot.
And lest it has been forgotten, he did co-coach, with Ace Khuse, Amakhosi in the past.
There was also that spell he had as national Under-17s coach and all that experience, plus the coaching licences he has garnered, should put him in a position to help lead Baroka towards a bright future, right?
As he said during his unveiling, this is about challenging himself and seeing if he can grow while also helping grow Baroka. And wouldn’t it be nice to see a playing legend going on to succeed at the highest level of coaching?
Of course, a stigma has been created around technical directorships in the local game that it is near impossible to not fear for Thobejane.