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Davids given tough mandate after finally getting Maritzburg coaching job

27 June 2017 - 15:32 By Marc Strydom
Maritzburg United caretaker coach Fadlu Davids during the Absa Premiership match against Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 13, 2016 in Durban, South Africa.
Maritzburg United caretaker coach Fadlu Davids during the Absa Premiership match against Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 13, 2016 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Maritzburg United’s new head coach‚ Fadlu Davids‚ has a mandate to finish in the top five in the Premier Soccer League‚ and reach at least one cup final‚ said the club’s chairman Farook Kadodia announcing the appointment.

That seems a tough benchmark to set in his first full season in the PSL for the league’s youngest head coach at 35‚ even one who as caretaker managed a better win record than both United’s other two coaches last season – Ernst Middendorp and Roger De Sa.

That win ratio saw United enjoy their best finish in the PSL of seventh‚ just their second top eight finish to follow eighth place under current Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela in 2014-15.

Kadodia said Davids’s two impressive stints as caretaker last season‚ and involvement in scouting young players from the Pietermaritzburg area for the club’s youth system‚ swayed Maritzburg to give the club’s former striker the full-time job for 2017-18.

He said developing and continuing an identity and style of play at the club‚ while introducing young players‚ was also part of Davids’s mandate.

“To achieve this we needed a coach with fresh ideas and approach. A coach who is hungry‚ has the passion‚ has the desire to work and get the results‚ ” Kadodia said.

“And a coach who we felt could fully fit into our development philosophy and a culture which we are working to create – which is to bring in results and play exciting football at the same time.

“We felt it was time to reengage the man who has proven his abilities beyond doubt in his two spells last season.

“The mandate is very clear. We want to finish in the top five and play in at least one cup final. We know that we can achieve this‚ and we will provide every support to ensure that this is achieved.

“Our brand is in a very advanced stage of being one of the threatening brands in the country.

"At the moment we believe we are ranked fifth in the PSL as a growing brand with support that every team in the PSL looks for.”

Davids has a tough assignment assembling a squad in the off-season‚ and conducting a fitting preseason for an entire campaign for the first time in his career.

Another might be managing the expectation of the team’s management.

Apart from instilling mandates – something that immediately can add unnecessary pressure to a coach’s position – Maritzburg have talked up Davids’s appointment to a point where any middling achievement might be viewed as a failure‚ even for a young coach.

“Our man is a legend of Maritzburg United‚ and still remains the top goal-scorer of the club‚” Kadodia said.

“It’s more than 12 years that Fadlu has been involved in the club‚ with a short break in service that was beyond our control (when Davids assisted Middendorp at Bloemfontein Celtic).

“And we believe that he will have a long future for the club. He has proven to be a workaholic‚ with a good work ethic and full control of the change room.”

Davids’s goals as the top scorer in the National First Division in 2007-08 helped steer Maritzburg back to the PSL a season after being relegated‚ making him something of a cult figure among the team’s supporters.

- TimesLIVE