In some cases, mediocrity will be celebrated, in others, proven failures will be rehired, knee-jerk reactions aplenty will see some major changes in coaching personnel. Here’s a quick look at how I see things panning out.
While some of the Kaizer Chiefs management were not convinced when Stuart Baxter’s name was brought to them, it now seems to be unanimous that he is the right man for the job, as the club basks in the glory of an impressive league and cup double. Regardless of a supposed CV scandal, regardless of the fact that he wasn’t very good for Bafana Bafana, nobody can argue the move that Stuart Baxter outthought, outcoached and outplayed all and sundry this season. There can be no argument that he fully deserved the accolade of Coach of the Season, and there isn’t a single coach in the PSL who is the slightest threat to his job. Rightly so, Stuart Baxter is the safest coach in the league.
Roger de Sa… Well, what do Orlando Pirates do in a situation where they may not have won the league or the cup, but find themselves a lot further up the table than when he inherited the team? Add to that the fact that he has now ensured that Orlando Pirates move to the business end of the CAF Champions League and can you really say he has failed? And if we are completely honest, when you consider the available options out there, is there any coach who can come in and do a better job than Roger? I don’t think Roger is loving life at Bucs and I don’t think Bucs are 100% convinced about Roger, but Bucs have shown in the past that continuity in the coaching department despite some rough times has seen them become very successful. I think Dr Khoza may persist with Roger, and certainly Roger has the credentials to deliver.
The Gavin Hunt and Cavin Johnson saga is playing out like a soap opera at the moment with neither coach willing to say, “Yes, it’s true, the worst kept secrets in the PSL are true.”
At the time of writing this column neither coach would confirm or deny that they were moving on, but I can tell you that the Gavin Hunt to Wits deal is just about done and dusted, and expect an announcement sometime this week.
As for Cavin… well, there is the little matter of a contract that he still has with Platinum Stars, and so he isn’t able to move to take up the SuperSport job as easily as everyone suspects. However, there are signs that he may try to manoeuvre out of that contract to take up the SuperSport post which will be vacant any day now. Not as cut and dried as the Wits situation, if Johnson isn’t able to free himself for the SuperSport job, Steve Komphela is still high on the list of SuperSport targets, and it will be interesting to see how this one unfolds. My money is on Gavin to Wits, Cavin to SuperSport and Steve to stay where he is and continue with the miracles he produces season in and season out.
The off-again, on-again love affair between Ajax Cape Town and Muhsin Ertugral is very much on again, and so the passionate Turk gets another shot at hatching his ‘chickens’ in Cape Town.
Ernst Middendorp is yet to sign a new contract with Maritzburg United, who for some reason think a finish outside the top eight was a disaster, when in fact just being nowhere near the relegation battle should really have been seen as a major victory this season. If they don’t hold onto him, they are crazy.
Zeca Marques will continue to lead the Beautiful Birds, but a lot more will be expected in the new season, despite losing some key personnel. Leon Prins has shown a lot of loyalty to Zeca and Zeca to Swallows, but the mandate for a big club like Swallows is to be competitive, and that will be the bar that is set for the coming season.
The Golden Arrows hot seat remains hot and expect some shifting to occur before the start of the season. It’s anyone’s guess who might land up there, but certainly Chippa United’s Mark Harrison has shown without a shadow of a doubt that he deserves a full new season in the PSL regardless of whether he keeps Chippa United up or sees them go down. Arrows might be interested, but so too might Platinum Stars if Johnson goes or Free State Stars if Komphela goes. One thing’s for sure, Manqoba Mngqithi is under pressure.
Pitso Mosimane will have the chance to make this Sundowns team his own, as some players he found there will be jettisoned and his handpicked players should start filtering into the team very soon. Craig Rosslee has done more than enough for another tenure at AmaZulu, but looking at the wholesale changes, the pressure will be on from the start of the new campaign. Steve Barker’s Tuks will surely see no coaching change after a very solid debut season in the PSL, and Bloem Celtic better tie down Clinton Larsen, who is popping up on all kinds of radar after a brilliant season with a limited squad.
Gordon Igesund’s name is also one bad World Cup qualifier away from being thrown back into the PSL hat, but let’s stay positive and pray Bafana do the business.
Yes, it’s about to become silly season in the PSL, expect the merry-go-round to start spinning any day now.