Mnisi denies Da Gama is joining the club

Royal AM explain why they sacked coach after just one match

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Mike Lukhubeni has been shown the door by Royal AM
Mike Lukhubeni has been shown the door by Royal AM
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Mike Lukhubeni has been the GladAfrica Championship’s first coaching casualty after being sacked by Royal AM yesterday.

The wealthy KwaZulu-Natal club, owned by controversial businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize alongside her son Andile Mpisane, sacked Lukhubeni on the back of losing their season opener 4-0 away to Sekhukhune United at the weekend.

Royal chief executive Sinky Mnisi confirmed Lukhubeni had been shown the door. The veteran football administrator gave a sense that he solely took the decision to pull the trigger on Lukhubeni, hinting the ex-Steenberg tactician wasn’t good enough for them.

“Yes it’s true, him [Lukhubeni] and his assistant [Thembinkosi Ngwenya] are no longer with us. As a person who’s been given the responsibility I came in and I have been with the team for quite some time,’’ said Mnisi.

“I have been watching things developing and I thought we needed a little bit of a change. From where I am standing I saw we were not going to achieve what we want to achieve [with Lukhubeni in charge]. He’s a good coach, but I don’t think he’s good to achieve what we want to achieve [which is promotion].’’

Seasoned coach  Owen da Gama, who worked with Mnisi at Highlands Park before they sold their status, has since been heavily linked to Royal. However, Mnisi dismissed the Da Gama talk, revealing they’d hired Floyd Mogale as Lukhubeni’s replacement, assisted by Sazi Ngubane.

“Those who say we want Owen must say where they get that from. I won’t entertain baseless rumours. I must tell you that we have appointed a new coach, Floyd Mogale. Coach Floyd will lead us for the remainder of the season, working with coach Sazi Ngubane," Mnisi said.

Da Gama wasn’t reached for comment as he kept on rejecting calls yesterday. On the other hand, Lukhubeni pleaded ignorance of his dismissal. “When was I got fired? Whoever told you that must tell you better. I know nothing about being fired,’’ said Lukhubeni.

GladAfrica results

AmaTuks 1, Richards Bay 0; FS Stars 0, Uthongathi 1; Sekhukhune 4, Royal 0; Sporting 2, Umoya 3; Spurs 1, PLK 1; All Stars 1, JDR 1

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