Leopards Set Record Straight After Stars Sign Pre-Contracts
Black Leopards’ head coach, Dylan Kerr, has set the record straight after two of the club’s biggest players signed pre-contracts elsewhere, insisting the door has not been closed on them yet.
Club captain, Marks Munyai, and Phathutshedzo Nange have agreed to join Highlands Park and Bidvest Wits respectively at the end of the current season, and it was expected that neither would now feature for Lidoda Duvha again before exiting at the end of June.
While Munyai was left out of the squad for the defeats to Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns, Kerr insists that if he proves himself in training and shows commitment to the cause then he won’t spend the next few months sidelined.
In a statement from Kerr today, the Englishman said, “As a football coach I don’t judge players on anything but merit, performance, body language, behaviour, mental state, how they live on and off the field and also their integrity as an individual and with the team.
“I treat everyone equally, giving them the responsibility to show me that they want to play in my team. Football clubs have a loyalty to the fans and the chairman to do the best that they can, and players have a responsibility to perform to his or her best whatever issues arise or the circumstances that proceed them.
“Honesty and transparency are important to me, and in the present day whilst I don’t condemn anyone for wanting a better life or career, it has to be done the right way. I have 30 players all wanting to play, and my philosophy is that I keep the same winning team unless injury or suspension determine my selection. Also, it’s my selection, not anyone else, so for those who come into the team, the challenge I give to them is to stay in the team on their performances even if the result goes against you.
“The best teams in the world don’t chop and change on a result, because you can lose even though you are the better team as in our game against Bloemfontein Celtic.
“The issue of Munyai and Nange is this… Nange knows he has to be patient because my midfielders’ performances have been good, and I’ve been honest with him and he understands that, as a good player, he has to bide his time.
“It’s nothing to do with him signing for Wits or anything personal. Marks is the same. he’s always in my plans but I saw in training that he wasn’t the same player that I’ve seen in the time that I’ve been here.
“In football, everyone knows everyone and there’s no secrets and no matter what, you find things out because that’s my job to do so. My chairman’s passion for his team, especially his players who he has developed and shown amazing loyalty to in good and bad times, means that he needs to chat with Munyai on his current position of loyalty because his agent was demanding his release now.
“That’s not fair on the players at the club. It’s my job to pick my team to keep everyone on a level playing field, and also to pick the right players. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. The chairman, players, I and my technical team are not bigger than the club, or its supporters, and collectively we are trying to build something big.
“A sustainable, vibrant, enjoyable club, and to do that we have to do it together. Contrary to recent reports with comments attributed to me, I did not say any player who had signed a pre-contract would not play again for Black Leopards, and as a football club we like to think that we treat every individual on his merits, performance and commitment to the cause.”
Leopards face Wits on Wednesday as they look to try and progress in the Nedbank Cup.