The Premier League shuffle
A season would not be complete without coaching drama at Black Leopards but Chippa United took the crown. Timothy Molobi looks back at the year
Just when it seemed they would go down the drain, judging by their early season form, Mamelodi Sundowns have suddenly found a new lease on life under the guidance of former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane, who’s arrival after the axing of Johan Neeskens has steadied the ship.
It has truly been a mixed year for the Brazilians. They reached two Cup finals – the Nedbank Cup and the Telkom Knockout – but lost both.
Another side with mixed fortunes this year was Moroka Swallows, which ended last season on a high.
They continued their fine form by winning the season-opening MTN8 Cup. This even after losing Gordon Igesund, who went on to coach Bafana. But then the wheels came off.
Under Zeca Marques, who was Igesund’s assistant, the Dube Birds have not been able to fly high and even though they won their last game of the year against Platinum Stars, the coach is still not out of the woods.
As for Orlando Pirates, after claiming their second treble this year when they defended their league title, things seemed to fall apart earlier this season.
Their dream of three consecutive trebles went up in smoke as they have already lost out on the MTN8 Cup
and the Telkom Knockout Cup.
Now they only have two trophies to fight for – the Nedbank Cup and the Absa Premiership.
But they bounced back in style under new coach Roger de Sa, who seems to have taken the Sea Robbers out of dangerous waters as they went into the festive recess, occupying the second spot just a point behind Kaizer Chiefs.
The arrival of former Bafana coach Stuart Baxter at Chiefs has been hailed as the best move of the season, as Amakhosi are playing a good brand of entertaining football under the Englishman.
Baxter received a rude welcome when his team went 4-1 down to Sundowns in the MTN8 Cup, but Amakhosi have since bounced back and suffered just a single defeat in 11 matches in their league campaign.
How Baxter and Chiefs supporters would have wished the log standing were like it is now at the end of the season.
The surprise package has been Platinum Stars, who deservedly won the second quarter of the Q-Innovation, bagging R1.5 million.
This achievement should spur them on in the second half of the season.
It is not surprising that five
of the league’s bottom teams have had to change coaches
Newcomers Chippa United have been the busiest as they are already on their fourth coach, Farouk Abrahams.
Golden Arrows also had
to relieve Muhsin Ertugral of
his duties and brought back Manqoba Mngqithi, while
Craig Rosslee replaced Roger Palmgren at AmaZulu.
It would have been a miracle if Black Leopards went the first half without changing coaches, as is the norm at the club.
Sunday Chidzambwa was replaced by Ian Palmer, who
has now been put on leave.
Ajax Cape Town were also
not to be outdone when they showed Maarten Stekelenburg the door after a string of