The ABSA Premiership League came alive this weekend with some interesting results.
Kaizer Chiefs moved back to the top of the league with a resounding win over arch rivals Orlando Pirates. Vladimir Vermezovic was under pressure to produce a positive result and did so when Bernard Parker scored from a wonderfully taken free-kick.
The Amakhosi went further ahead when Pirates midfielder Andile Jali was caught on the ball by Chiefs striker Lehlohonolo Majoro. Majoro set up a chance for Chiefs captain Siphiwe Tshabalala to score from close range to lead 2-0 at half time.
The Buccaneers dominated the second half and Happy Jele scored in referee’s optional time. This was Orlando Pirate’s second defeat in the league and Coach Julio Leal will feel the heat for the first time.
To make matters worse Buc’s next match is against Mamelodi Sundowns, who shared a five goal thriller with Ajax Cape Town.The Urban Warriors scored the winner in the 90th minute to show that they will be a factor in who wins the league championship this season.
Closer to home Maritzburg United beat Lamontville Golden Arrows at the Harry Gwala Stadium. Coach Ian Palmer’s team has moved into the fifth spot and will be difficult to beat at their fortress in the KwaZulu capital. The ‘Team of Choice’ scored through Felix Obada and Kurt Lentjies.
AmaZulu hosted Moroka Swallows at the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium. After a poor first half both sides improved in the second half.
The Usuthu had two wonderful chances, both missed and with time running out Swallows scored when Ashraf Hendricks netted from inside the 18 yard area.
Two points from five games saw the AmaZulu Chairman Dr Patrick Sokhela and his Directors react and they dismissed head coach Manqoba Mngqithi.
One thing that all coaches know is that, if the chairman states publicly that he backs the beleaguered coach that this is the kiss of death speech. You can bet your bottom dollar that the next adverse result that the team gets he will move in and fire the coach. This is all part of the game.
The likeable coach Manqoba Mngqithi will bounce back.
He has been replaced by Roger Palmgren. Roger has held the post of Director of Sport at AmaZulu for two seasons and has local and international experience from coaching extensively in Africa.
I have learnt over 35 years of coaching in football is how many goals are scored in the last few minutes of the game. I recall discussing this at one of our weekly meetings and I used to employ my assistant or goal keeper coach to let me know when there were 10 minutes to go.
I would always move to shut shop and take a point from the game rather than get beaten and have nothing to show for your endeavors. This has happened four times to AmaZulu this season, and one wonders if the technical team had heeded that advice, Manqoba Mngqithi might still be the coach of the team today.
Modern day football directors are much more hands on and want a say in the day to day running of football clubs. Frequent meetings are held before and after matches with reports of what went wrong and right.
Has the game improved with this change? In the good old days footballers would come to training on bicycles.
Today they arrive in Cadillac’s. Has football improved? You be the judge. Big contracts for coaches, players and the technical team means more pressure. Good luck Roger.
1996 AFCON-winning manager