JOHANNESBURG – Where will Joel Masutha go? Chances are into oblivion, to be honest, or maybe back into the trenches of the lower divisions after just three and a half months in the Premier League.
Masutha was asked to resign from his post as Black Leopards coach on Monday morning by chairman David Thidiela as results in the league worsened, sending a signal to management that they could be staring relegation in the face before Christmas.
In less than seven days, Lidoda Duvha had suffered back-to-back defeats in away matches to Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town City.
Thidiela ran out of patience and Masutha was told to clear his locker this week, but whether he was offered another role within the club is unclear.
For the coach, Leopards is his home, having returned there in December to help steady the ship.
In December last year when Thidiela sent another coach packing for poor results and the desperation to see his team return to top-flight football, Masutha was immediately available. He knew the club, having worked there before, and could hit the ground running as soon as possible.
Six months later, Leopards had gained promotion from the National First Division to the Premier League via the play-offs. Maybe he got a little soft on the players and the fact that he insisted on trusting the same group of players that helped the team win promotion could very well have contributed to his undoing.
Masutha, by his own admission, was clearly still learning the ropes and could have done with a full season at the helm. But you have to understand that Thidiela endured the pain of seeing Leopards miss out on returning to the Premier League for five years and wasn’t about to risk another slog in the trenches because he wanted to be loyal to Masutha.
But with just six months of experience in the top-flight, Masutha’s job prospects are a little bleak. Where is the maverick Kgoloko Thobejane, whose charisma and bizarre post-match conference made him famous while Baroka FC coach? He too wasn’t the ideal candidate for most clubs in the Premier League, but appeared to be a good fit for Bakgaga.
Masutha probably had lofty ambitions like any man in his position, but being sacked when you are still learning the ropes is the worst thing that can happen to a young coach. He simply has to dust himself up and go again; he can certainly give back in the lower divisions or even the Leopards reserve team.
To slip into the unknown is possible but shouldn’t be Masutha’s reality.