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Time for SA legends to step forward

A lack of ambition is hampering the South African 1996 Africa Cup of Nations legends and, as a result, depriving the country of much-needed experience and motivation.

Football administrators have come under hefty criticism for ignoring these national heroes when appointing club coaches, but are these former players positioning themselves well for the top jobs? While some of them have done coaching courses they don’t seem keen to start at the bottom. They all want to coach Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Sundowns.

Credit must go to Shaun Bartlett. He grabbed the bull by the horns when he went down to the National First Division with Golden Arrows and got them promoted back to the Premier Soccer League. He was brave enough to say yes I am Shaun Bartlett, everyone knows me as player, but now they should know Shaun the coach. Although he may not be retained by Golden Arrows, his stock has risen as a coach.

The lesson from Shaun’s story is that you climb a ladder from the bottom. It pains me to see Tebogo Moloi and Doctor Khumalo as assistant coaches to every new head coach at Pirate and Chiefs respectively. Are they happy being No 2 to every other new man? One thing they need to understand is, to get that top job they need to prove themselves and that can only happen if they go elsewhere.

Take a leaf from Zinedine Zidane’s book, who has made it clear his biggest ambition is to one day be the manager of one of the world’s biggest clubs, Real Madrid. Based on his reputation as a player, no doubt he is the man for the job, but, as coach, he still has to prove himself.

This is something of which he is fully aware. He even took steps towards his biggest dream by quitting his job as the assistant coach to then boss Carlo Ancelloti. After being courted by an array of French lower league clubs, Zidane settled for the Real Madrid reserves job.

Khumalo and Moloi have worked under a number of top coaches, so by now they should have gathered the necessary experience and tactical nous, which should earn them a top job elsewhere. Being a good player doesn’t guarantee that one will be a good coach. You have to prove it and the only way to do so is away from the comfort zone.

It’s time to move gentlemen.

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