CHAIRMAN’S OVERVIEW OF THE SEASON - PART ONE
1 June 2017
This is the first of the TWO PART series of the Chairman's overview of the past season. Mr Farook Kadodia sat down with Marketing and Communications Manager Brian Zuma for an interview:
"At the beginning of the season when the team was assembled, the mandate was very clear, that we needed a very strong top eight finish, and to play in a cup final. We had to come out of fighting relegation on the last day of the season before , and assembled a squad that we believed was strong enough to achieve the mandate.
"We started the season well with a victory away to Bloemfontein Celtic. Then issues that we were not aware of kicked in, among them were more of personality issues between our ex-coach and certain officials of the league, and it filtered into some very unfair decisions from certain men in the centre, the match officials. At that stage, if we had achieved our rightful points, we would have surprised many football fans in the league. It came to a situation that before the Christmas break, the then Head Coach Ernst Middendorp realised that the club brand was bigger than the problems between him and whoever in the league he had issues with, and that resulted in him tendering his resignation.
"After that there were some anxious moments, and as a club we had to find a strategic continuity plan by securing good leadership. On the interim basis, Coach Fadlu Davids excelled in that period until the Christmas break where he brought us points and the club was unbeaten. However the club believed that it had to protect Coach Fadlu, being very young, and we head hunted a seasoned coach.
"In Coach Roger De Sa we believed that his experience would rub onto the Davids brothers. He was hugely welcomed by the entire Technical Team and the fans in Pietermaritzburg. Unfortunately football has its own dynamics and things didn’t work out for the coach. His resignation came as a surprise, but we had to move on. We believed that it was not the right time to bring in a new coach, and we had no second thoughts about giving the mandate to the Davids brothers to continue with the job.
"I think largely the mentorship from Ernst filtered well into the team. The structures, the work ethic, the complexion of the game was evident in their planning and match day tactics of the game. In their second spell, the team only lost two games (Pirates and Wits), otherwise they produced the results and attractive football that the fans relished as a form and package of entertainment. They were very close to achieving their goal of finishing sixth on the log.
"In the same year we brought aspiring young players, especially from the development, where co-incidentally, some of these players came through from our previous academy under the guidance of Coach Katz Naidoo. Two or three players came through now. Their emergence into the senior team raised a lot of eyebrows to the extent of how they applied themselves. I strongly believe that the MultiChoice Diski League has given many a coach an opportunity to stabilize their teams with young players and unveil many more. Most of the teams use their reserve players to play in the Diski League and it gives an opportunity for the coaches to see how the young players will adapt. The club has a long way ahead in as far as unveiling more young talent. We believe that there is a lot of players that are in the making that need to be promoted, but obviously it’s a process.
"It must be noted that our partnership with Msunduzi Municipality proved and showed with the results that materialised in the three seasons of our partnership. In two of the three seasons, the club finished in the top eight. The second was unfortunate where we lost the Head Coach on the first day of pre-season preparations. That put us in a situation that we never came out of. So by and large, our relationship with Msunduzi was an excellent partnership. I believe that it contributed to Economic Development in the City, the promotion of sport especially from the development side, and the interest of football in Pietermaritzburg at the time when sport is taking a lot of pounding in as far as the support from the public is concerned.
"Lifestyle changes with families that have come around, have put sport in the back seat in terms of support. The tie-up between the Club and the Municipality brought football fans to the stadium. It paid dividends as our target was to attract between five and seven thousand spectators as a regular attendance at Harry Gwala Stadium, and we achieved that. We now need to look into the future in terms of the sustainability of the brand. Soccer being the mother sport for the masses, we need to ensure that stakeholders around us pay particular interest into supporting Maritzburg United and football upliftment overall.”