JOHANNESBURG - Sammy Troughton became the first PSL coach to be sacked last week when he was replaced at Free State Stars. The axe is already being sharpened for the next victim. Njabulo Ngidi looks at who could be the next PSL coaching casualty.
The heat that Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela is experiencing could boil an ocean, and it will take a herculean effort to cool down.
Just three games into the season Komphela finds himself on the receiving end of chants that he must go. It was nothing new. Those chants and doubts of Komphela’s competency to manage a club of Chiefs’ stature have been the soundtrack of his tenure, ringing loudly in difficult moments.
It wasn’t always like this. Two cup finals in his first two knockout competitions signalled that Amakhosi could be able to build on their record-breaking campaign of the 2014/15 season, despite losing key figures from that squad and coach Stuart Baxter. That didn’t happen, instead Chiefs lost both finals and were without the aura of invincibility that saw them smash everything in their path in their march to claim the Premiership. The poor showing of the past two seasons have increased the pressure on Komphela.
Peter Butler is also feeling the heat at Platinum Stars, even though he is only in his second month. The British coach has yet to adapt to the league he labelled “overrated and not good as the hype” given to it.
If he doesn’t change things quickly, he could be sacked in an effort to not been drawn in the relegation dogfight as Dikwena is up for sale, and relegation would decrease its value. Butler’s biggest challenge will be his temperament. He is a feisty character who doesn’t hold back. His problem at times is struggling to pick the right fights.
His temper tends to antagonise and divide if not channelled to the right areas. With a squad thin on depth and ability to compete, how Butler manages them will be key to his, and the club’s, survival.
The word “safe” doesn’t really exist in the coaching landscape due to the fickle nature of the industry. Komphela put it better when he said that the job only has two doors - entrance and exit. But there are some men who are firmly inside and aren’t anywhere near the exit. Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt are two such coaches
The pair, who fought over the Absa Premiership in recent campaigns, have been at their current jobs longer than the other 14 coaches. Mosimane and Hunt could form dynasties at Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits due to their drive and the quality squads they have at their disposal.
Mosimane wants to help the Brazilians take their league titles in the PSL-era to 10, adding three to the record seven they currently have. Hunt is looking to ensure that Wits’ success from the last campaign, winning their first league title in 96 years, is sustained and they stay at the summit.
SuperSport United’s Eric Tinkler and Benni McCarthy of Cape Town City are also on the safe side despite their employer’s ambitions. The pair will be given time to stamp their authority in a bid for these clubs to finish better than they did in the last campaign.
Maritzburg United’s Fadlu Davids is also among those on the safe side. Davids has done what no “Team of Choice coach” has done before - take the club to the semi-finals of the MTN8. At the rate the Midlands club is going, this could be their best season in history.
Prediction: Butler to be the next to get the axe. Luc Eymael will not finish the season at Free State Stars and Komphela will be lucky if he is still at Chiefs by the end of the year.