Clubs welcome Safa’s new coaching standards

But Thidiela warns the coaches won’t come cheap

Neville Khoza Journalist
Mabhuti Khenyeza, coach of Golden Arrows FC
Mabhuti Khenyeza, coach of Golden Arrows FC
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Two Premier Soccer League club owners have welcomed Safa’s new regulations which, among others, require all coaches to be qualified and foreign ones to have won at least one trophy before being hired.

Last month, the Safa NEC approved the implementation of coaching standards as of the beginning of next season, meaning they will kick in on August 1.

Foreign coaches will be required to have won a trophy in the last seven years and in addition, the appointed coach must possess a CAF A Licence or a Uefa Pro Licence, according to a circular signed by Safa technical director Walter Steenbok.

The rules apply to both DStv Premiership and the Motsepe Foundation Championship clubs. 

AmaZulu and Baroka chairpersons Sandile Zungu and Khurishi Mphahlele, respectively, said they supported the idea as this woild improve the standard of the league.

“Look, I’m not sure about the specifics, but I guess Safa would have set the criteria after a lot of analysis and discussions,” Zungu explained to Sowetan yesterday.

“But the principle of coaches coming into SA having a certain pedigree, being competitive and helping to improve our spirit of football is a great thing. I would not be against it at all. But I'm not sure about the specific criteria because I have not analysed it.

“I’m not sure about the implications, but the principles itself, we need to get people who will help elevate our game, who will be competitive and can help our teams. It’s a good principle, but whether it means foreign coaches become very pricey because they have a pedigree, I think that’s a very valid question.”

Mphahlele shared Zungu’s views and added that coaches must have the experience to coach in the league. “I’m supporting Safa because we must get specialised coaches from outside the country,” Mphahlele said.

“Coaches must have proper qualifications and they must have won something. We once brought [Wedson] Nyirenda here, he came with cups from Mozambique, Zambia and he gave us a cup [Telkom Knockout in 2018], so we need those kinds of coaches to come. They must come here with experience. I support it.”

While Zungu and Mphahlele showed their support, Black Leopards chairperson Tshifhiwa Thidiela was critical of the new regulations and said this would likely hit teams hard in their pockets.

“I just think in general, Safa must be run by people who have clubs or people who have been in football because all who are there are politicians and they are there for their stomachs,” Thidiela said.

“They make decisions that are not progressive to football. The decisions they make want them to look nice. Do we have the money to be able to get those people?”

Steenbok could not be reached for comment and failed to respond to our WhatsApp text.

The coaching standards could mean several PSL clubs must search for coaches as their current incumbents do not meet the set criteria. Last year, Steenbok launched a blistering attack on some coaches for not possessing the papers, singling out then Moroka Swallows interim coach Musa Nyatama and Golden Arrows duo of Mabhuti Khenyeza and Vusumuzi Vilakazi.

But it later turned out Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele was also without requisite papers and was consequently barred from coaching in the Cosafa Cup.

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