By Andile & Mandla Dladla
He is personally doing extremely well with no levels of stress and it’s not a lot of coaches that can give you such a response when asking them how they are doing especially towards the business end of the season because this is the time when countless coaches suffer the most from stress.
It is a time when a lot of coaches bite their nails in anxiety, stressing about the possibility of winning the championship. Then there are those coaches fighting tooth and nail to qualify for the top eight bracket. But worse, there are a number of coaches that spend sleepless nights because their clubs are positioned dangerously in the drop zone
Yet Pitso Dladla the head coach of GladAfrica Championship side Uthongathi FC is unfazed by the anxiety levels that attacks his peers at this time of the season and in fact, one could be right to describe him as calmness personified as he claims that the environment is simply normal as it comes with the territory.
The reason why the coach is feeling well is due to the fact that the mandate which was given to him by the club when the season commenced was: “look, we know that you are a young coach that inherited a completely new team after losing almost all your players so please whatever you do just maintain the status of the team”.
Uthongathi has a crucial penultimate game against TS Sporting and they line-up against their high flying opponents in a relaxed mood with no pressure of fighting the dreaded relegation or competing for the playoff spot.
“But pressure is always there whenever we prepare for a match because we always prepare to win, no matter who we play against. The boys are ready with no major injuries reported and even though it’s an away match of which they want it more, we are going to be professional, competitive and do our business on the field.”
Although the GladAfrica sponsorship has come as a welcome windfall for the clubs in the second tier of South African football, Dladla wishes to see changes implemented in the league to ensure a further development and improvement of the game at this level.
“The most visible and biggest change has been the increasing number of matches that are broadcast live or recorded and played at a later. This has been a masterstroke and a great motivating factor for the platers in particular unlike in the past when only matches in the Premier League enjoyed television coverage.”
The appointment of the new Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Brood has triggered a lot of debate with most people of the view that he could be what the doctor ordered for local football while others express the view that a local coach should have been appointed.
“There are far too many coaches that have proven that they have what it takes to lead us. If one looks at the DSTV Premiership & GladAfrica Championship all the top three teams in both divisions respectively are coached by local mentors.
“We are blessed in South Africa not to have big name players that are arrogant and cannot be controlled by coaches because our players are humble, grounded and disciplined. Coaches like Manqoba Mngqithi, Steve Kompela, Benni McCarthy and Mandla Ncikazi are coaches that should be leading us forward.”
As a person one has to be selfish in a good way and talk about themselves.
“I am very proud of myself and at the same time thanking the team that they have entrusted so much responsibility in me to lead the them. One thing people should know about me is that I do not have the privilege to compete in the market, there are so many players in our league that are free agents but I do not have that privilege to sign them and I am talking about players that can help you win automatic promotion.
“Yet I am proud because I am able to travel to different parts of the country and watch friendly games at lower divisions in search of players and the ones I identify I would then follow their progress.
“I have been blessed with the ability to identify players that are exceptionally talented and then groom them for professionalism and fortunately most of them usually responds very fast to my guidance.”
Dladla took this opportunity to express his condolences to the family and friends of professional referee Shaun Olive who passed away this week due to a freak car accident.