UYO, Nigeria– Cape Town City captain Lebogang Manyama says he was not shocked by coach Eric Tinkler’s decision to look for pastures anew, despite learning of his resignation on social media the day prior to him being unveiled as the new SuperSport United coach.
Tinkler, who has been lauded for a remarkable 2016/17 season with the Mother City side for finishing third in the league and winning the Telkom Knockout cup, replaces Stuart Baxter, the recently appointed Bafana Bafana coach, from July 1.
“We meet to part in football at the end of the day. Nothing lasts forever,” was Manyama’s reaction to confirmation that Tinkler had indeed quit.
The striker has travelled to Uyo for South Africa’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opening qualifier against Nigeria on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.
“He saw an opportunity for him and his family first and foremost. We have to respect that," Manyama added.
"We can’t judge what he did because he knows his reasons. And he probably feels with more resources and a slightly better squad at SuperSport he can achieve more success. All we can do is wish him the best and be thankful for all the time we spent with him at Cape Town City.
"You can see with our fans’ reaction that it is disappointing to see him go, but that is football. We have to move and find ways to continue where we left off. There is no doubt that he will always be remembered because of the season we had and him being coach.”
Manyama is an ex-SuperSport player himself and knows exactly what will be expected of Tinkler at a club that perhaps punched below their weight under Baxter in the season that has just ended by finishing in fifth place and reaching the Nedbank Cup final, which is scheduled for June 24.
“I haven’t spoken to him since the last day of the season, so I read in the papers that he was going,” said the Premier League Golden Boot winner. “But when a team like SuperSport comes calling, you have to think of your family. He also has to secure his future. I don’t know the real reasons, but I think that is part of it.
"You never know whether you can pull it off until you are there. Look at Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. He didn’t have the experience but has achieved great success. I am not saying coach Tinkler doesn’t have the experience because he has coached at (Orlando) Pirates and played at the highest level, but you can’t judge anybody when they haven’t even done anything. Let’s wait and see what he does and then we can talk from there, but I don’t doubt his ability.”