Will the three worthy PSL caretakers stand up?
The appetite for Premier Soccer League action will be muted this weekend after the killing of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and the subsequent postponement of Saturday’s derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
But with all the other matches scheduled to continue, it throws up the unusual phenomenon of three clubs employing caretaker coaches after recent managerial upheavals and seeking to get themselves out of a potential jam.
AmaZulu had lofty ambitions before the start of the season, setting their sights on a high-placed finish, but after nine matches they find themselves rooted to the foot of the table and still seeking a first win of the season.
Caretaker coach Wilfred Mugeyi is in charge, with the AmaZulu owners dearly hoping he might be able to lift them out of trouble and keep them from having to go to the market in search of a replacement for Craig Rosslee, who was first suspended and then dismissed last month.
At Moroka Swallows, Fani Madida will also be given a few games to see whether he might turn out to be a miracle worker. The Birds were cloistered away on a training camp at the Vaal River this week in a bid to muster the cohesion, motivation and team spirit plainly missing so far this campaign, as they prepare for Friday night’s game against Platinum Stars.
Since the departure of Kosta Papic, Chippa United are sticking, for the moment, with Roger Sikhakhane after an unbeaten run of five league matches, including victory over Orlando Pirates and drawing with champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Owner Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi has had several recommendations for a long-term replacement, including former league winner Miguel Gamondi, but seemingly has no appetite for another highly paid coach when his trusty and long-serving backroom man has stepped forward to deliver some surprise results.
Cynics might suggest it is only a matter of time before it all implodes again but Chippa seems to have a well-balanced squad who have long since rid themselves of any inferiority complex.
With Chiefs not playing, Ajax Cape Town can trim their lead to five points but would need to beat SuperSport United, one of the five PSL teams that have already made a coaching change with just one-third of the season complete.
Gordon Igesund has won five of six matches since taking over and should have won the sixth too (a 4-1 home defeat to Maritzburg United), according to Sunday’s opposing coach Roger de Sa.
“I watched the game on video several times and SuperSport should never have lost it. Everything just seemed to conspire against them,” De Sa asserted.
Maritzburg run the risk of a fear of heights as they find themselves in a dizzying third position – a position they have never attained.
They could well be in second place by the end of the weekend if they win on Friday against Pretoria University, who are fast heading for a crisis and could be the next side needing a caretaker to take charge.