Sekhukhune’s choice of coach smacks of desperation

Lehlohonolo Seema and Sekhukhune parted ways last season after the club finished a credible fourth in the DStv Premiership. | BackpagePix

Lehlohonolo Seema and Sekhukhune parted ways last season after the club finished a credible fourth in the DStv Premiership. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 3, 2024




DESPERATE times do indeed call for desperate measures. That perhaps best describes Sekhukhune United’s choice of coach for the coming season.

Babina Noko announced Germany’s Peter Hyballa as the man to lead their team for the 2024/2025 campaign after they parted ways with Lehlohonolo Seema late last season. The choice, however, smacks of desperation after the club’s failure to secure initial targets Morena Ramoreboli and Fernando da Cruz.

Sekhukhune had been in advanced negotiations with Ramoreboli only for ‘the Orlando Pirates slayer’ to opt to rather seek the renewal of his contract at Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy, where he won the league title in successive seasons.

On the other hand, Da Cruz – the 51-year-old Frenchman – chose to join Kaizer Chiefs as an assistant coach to Nasreddine Nabi, whom Amakhosi are expected to announce soon. Da Cruz was Tunisian Nabi’s second in charge at Morocco’s FAR Rabat.

And so it was that Sekhukhune had to ‘settle’ for Hyballa, an apparent journeyman coach whose record suggests he has itchy feet – the 48-year-old hardly ever staying at a club for the full duration of his contract, according to Wikipedia.

He has worked at 10 clubs in his 12-year coaching career with the longest spell he has had being the 18 months he spent at Slovak Supa Liga side DAC Dunajská Streda. He had arguably his best coaching stint there as he led the club to a runners-up position but left when contract renegotiations did not work out.

But the man just cannot seem to hold on to a job for long. Get this, Hyballa has worked at NAC Breda over two different spells of nine months and four months. He lasted just three months at Esbjerg fB and two months at Türkgücü München, while his relationship with AS Trenčín was for a mere month.

It is perhaps the reasons behind his early departures from the clubs which should have set alarm bells ringing at a Sekhukhune side looking to not only have a fantastic Premiership season but one eager to improve on group stage participation in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Described as ‘fanatical’, the man who had some measure of success as a youth coach is seemingly renowned for his ‘controversial’ statements during interviews and behaviour during matches.

He is apparently wont to having ‘conflicts with management’, as well as ‘clashes with players’ and there have also been reports of ‘physical and mental abuse’ of players. At one club, he even had a fallout with the legends, leading to his departure.

All that would not be so bad had he been producing stellar results, but there is no such in his CV. And so, given my view that any foreign coach local clubs import should be of the kind of quality we do not have here, I am left to opine that this is a miss.

Sure, Sekhukhune will tell us they did their homework, conducted their due diligence and found Hyballa to be the right man for the job. And with the kind of good work done by yet another German – Sead Ramovic, whom some of us initially doubted – at TS Galaxy, Babina Noko could well be on to something. After all, did we also not wonder just why Orlando Prates hired Jose Riveiro?

All that notwithstanding, my initial reaction to the appointment is one of scepticism. I foresee a short-lived relationship, forged as it appears, out of desperation.