Eric Tinkler has taken the precarious job of being coach at Chippa United but is hoping he can be the one that can change things at the club. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix
Even in the world of football where coaches seem no more useful than disposable razors, anyone who willingly signs up to lead Chippa United is viewed somewhat suspiciously.

“Does he know what he’s getting himself into?” the soccer fraternity asks, some going to the extent of suggesting such a coach “needs to have his head examined”.

Only if you are a Roger Sikhakhane or a Dan Malesela will your taking up the Chilli Boys’ head coach position be understood - the two men having had so many stints at the club they are considered immune to the boss’ crazy whims.

But then again all of us would rather take up a job that comes with the proviso ‘you could be fired anytime’ than be swelling the ranks of the unemployed, right?

No doubt this is why Eric Tinkler, accepted the PSL’s most volatile coaching job this week after the club cut ties with Malesela for the umpteenth time, a mere three matches into the new season.

The former Pirates, Cape Town City and SuperSport coach admitted he knows exactly what he is getting himself in to.

“If you are a coach there’s no job security. You are judged on results; you are judged on your last three points. I’m not worried. I know I can be fired today, tomorrow, next month or after four years. But eventually it will come. It is inevitable. Those are the pressures that comes with this job.”

On to a good start then, is local football’s most famous ginger.

Given a one-year contract, bets are already in place as to whether he will get to the end of it.

Last season, his former assistant at Pirates Teboho Moloi waxed lyrical about his relationship with boss Chippa Mpengesi, and how he totally “got him”, so we all expected him to buck the trend and stay the course.

No sooner had the ink on that article dried than Moloi was fired, to be replaced by Vladislav Heric whose tenure was as short as the club’s name  Chippa.

That a coach as mellow as Manqoba Mngqithi lasted a mere two matches at the Eastern Cape club should tell Tinkler  renowned for his steely, no-nonsense character  that he’s literally jumping into the fire.

“I must say I was concerned (about the club instability) but had to come here with a positive mindset. I’m not worried. We have a good squad. I’m hungry and I want to succeed. My first objective and target is to take the team away from the bottom of the log. If we can do that, I believe our squad has the potential to finish in the top eight,” Tinkler explained.

It is a song all of his predecessors sung and even those who managed to achieve their targets and objectives were not spared. But then again, coaches know to live their lives from suitcases - aware they could never truly settle anywhere.

“Success doesn’t happen overnight though. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. Everyone at the club must take responsibility, from players, technical staff to the management,” said Tinkler.

Well, really? Surely the former Bafana Bafana midfielder has been living under a rock if he expects to: 1), be given time to achieve success; 2) have the players and management take the blame for a lack of results.

Get your head out of the clouds Mr Tinkler, at Chippa the sole responsibility for results lies with the coach. Fail to deliver and you will be on the first flight out.

Granted the management say they are behind you  though is but just grandstanding, as you will soon find out.

Tinkler spoke of a need to beef the squad up before the transfer window closes this week.

“We need to strengthen two positions,” he said without revealing what those are. “I still need to have more training sessions to understand my players better. We have talent, ability and experience.”

That might be, but what Tinkler definitely does not have is time  the fact that he signed a one-year contract notwithstanding.


Sunday Independent

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