On the chopping block
A cup tie between the Absa Premiership's two worst sides, AmaZulu and Mamelodi Sundowns, could yet produce a shock result, but the ramifications are likely to be felt days later.
While the management of both clubs have been immovable in their support for the two beleaguered coaches Roger Palmgren and Johan Neeskens, another defeat, this time in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals, could tip them over.
Palmgren lost his cool with reporters early this week when asked if he was encouraged by the backing he has received from the club even after winning just one game in eight Absa Premiership matches.
"Do all of you want me to be kicked out?" he asked.
"I will keep working [hard] for as long as I am there."
Usuthu general manager Peter O'Connor hinted in a recent interview that the axe was looming over Palmgren's head, with 11 coaches having submitted their CVs in the hope that they would be suitable replacements for the Swede.
Usuthu are bottom of the log after eight league games, and, in Neeskens' own words, Sundowns are "just as bad". The Brazilians are two spots above AmaZulu, to whom they travel tomorrow, with only goal difference separating them.
Neeskens said he continues to see improvements in his team, notwithstanding Sundowns having won just three of their 12 games in all competitions - one of the club's poorest starts to a season.
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Clinton Larsen is done making excuses. He now wants to join the list of local coaches who win titles by ending the club's seven-year drought.
Last month, three coaches - Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax CT), Muhsin Ertugral (Arrows) and Roger Sikhakhane (Chippa United) - were fired by their clubs because of poor results.
Larsen is confident he will prove why Celtic management has backed him, despite barely making it into the Top 8 last season.
He has set his sights on the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal clash against defending champions Orlando Pirates on Sunday.
"I've always said if we can finish as high as fifth on the [PSL] log, we are one step closer to being in the top three or four and having success in the cup," Larsen said yesterday.
Celtic host the Buccaneers, who are coached by Roger de Sa, at the Free State stadium. This match will see the two South African coaches go head-to-head.
Only one can continue their cup journey, with the odds stacked against Pirates, who have not beaten Celtic at home since 2008.
When local coaches do get jobs with Premier League teams, they often do not last.
Larsen's case with Celtic is a rarity, so it is no surprise that he now wants to repay his bosses, who gave him his big break in 2010.
Larsen is not as experienced as his counterparts Gavin Hunt of Supersport United, De Sa, and returning Arrows man Manqoba Mngqithi - the select few homegrown coaches who have won cups with their respective teams.
But Larsen is eager to improve his credentials.
In the other two quarterfinals this weekend, Maritzburg United host Supersport tonight at Harry Gwala stadium.
Free State Stars travel to Milpark to tackle Wits tomorrow.