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Football | Absa Premiership

Craig Rosslee © Backpagepix

Rosslee named AmaZulu coach



New AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee has set his sights on “revitalising and reinvigorating” the struggling Premiership club after his appointment on Friday.

The 42-year-old signed a two-and-a-half year contract, replacing Swede Roger Palmgren, who was sacked on Monday after 14 months in charge at Usuthu.

The first task for the former Ajax Cape Town coach, who was also an assistant at Orlando Pirates in the 2010/11 season, is to lift the team off the bottom of the log where they sit with just nine points from 12 games.

“The club has obviously been in a bit of turmoil,” Rosslee said.

“It is my job now to change their fortunes. Yes, they are in dire straits, but the picture can change.

“There was a sign I saw when I arrived at the club, which said ‘Home of the Brave', so it's important that the players, staff, coaching staff, supporters and everyone involved with the club all get on board to revitalise and reinvigorate the club.

“We need to get it back to where it needs to be, which is further up the log table. My mandate is to do that.”

His appointment comes just four games prior to the Christmas break, which will herald the start of a near two-month interruption in the calendar for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Rosslee, who won the 2008 Telkom Knockout with the Urban Warriors, said he would use the time to try and distinguish the real issues that needed resolving.

“A long break is not good for anyone because it's like a new pre-season, but I will look at it as a positive," he said.

"It will be a blessing in disguise as it will give me time to reassess and work on things.”

Rosslee said there were a number of areas in which AmaZulu needed to improve.

“They've scored the least goals and conceded among the most goals, that's no secret.

“There's a lot of areas that need improving, but the initial task is to defend better and score more goals. That is the priority.”

General manager at the club, Peter O'Connor, defended the decision to offer the new coach a deal that runs until June 2015.

Previous boss Palmgren, who came in under similar circumstances when Manqoba Mngqithi was axed last season, had to prove himself with an interim deal initially, before earning a fulltime contract during the winter.

“All the coaches we employ, we always look to the longer term,” O'Connor said.

“It's not in our best interest to keep chopping and changing."

As part of his contract agreement, Rosslee must meet a target of 35 points in the league campaign, a clause that has been drawn into his deal and one that could help the club achieve a solid mid-table finish.

“There are these performance clauses and we will visit them on an ongoing basis,” O'Connor said.

“But as I said, we didn't hire him to chase him away. We want to make sure he has every opportunity to be successful at AmaZulu."

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