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Pupuma to stick to day job despite coaching skills

Club owner says he will groom assistant coaches

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Milford FC coach and owner Xanti Pupuma.
Milford FC coach and owner Xanti Pupuma.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/GALLO IMAGES

Xanti Pupuma has no plans to expand his coaching ambitions.

The Milford coach, and owner, plans to focus on his day job as a gynaecologist at the end of the season.

His status as a coach received a huge boost, thanks to his masterful win against his childhood dream club Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend.

Milford dumped Amakhosi, a team Pupuma supported growing up, out of the Nedbank Cup by beating them 5-4 on penalties in the competition's round 32 at FNB Stadium on Sunday.

“Hopefully this win [over Chiefs] will give us confidence as we aim to survive in the Motsepe Foundation Championship. From my side, I have no ambitions. Initially I was supposed to coach the team for five games [after taking over as an interim coach after the sacking of Asanda Mvalo last September], but the players asked me to stay put," Pupuma said.

“Right now the plan is to be around Zane [Nkululeko Buthelezi], Nhlanhla [Shongwe] and Debe [Sibongiseni Khumalo] ... groom them up, help them get the badges. I am like a principal, keeping order. As soon as the season is over and we survived, I am going back to being the number one fan of the team and let one of these guys coach the club.”

Pupuma suggested he stopped supporting Chiefs as soon as he became a club owner. Milford is named after Pupuma's father, who holds an advisory role at the club.

They bought Uthongathi's status before the start of this season.

“Yes, I grew up following Kaizer Chiefs, but it's impossible that I have a team and be a fan of another team,'' said Pupuma.

Pupuma also heaped praise on goalkeeper Siphamandla Hleza, who impressed against Chiefs by saving Ranga Chivaviro's spot kick in extra time, before converting the winner in the shootout.

He revealed Hleza played injured.

“It's a pity you guys get to see him now. I've known him for years ... he's insane as a modern goalkeeper, he can even play as a striker if he wants to,'' Pupuma said of Hleza.

“He makes us complete. Believe it or not, he actually played injured, he injured his finger on Monday but we rested him for the week because without him we really are not the same ... we don't play like we want to play.”

Pupuma hails from Nqamakwe in the Eastern Cape, but has been based in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, since 2009.

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