PODCAST | Dan Malesela was ‘treated like royalty’ at the Royal AM farm
Dan Malesela says he was “treated like royalty” at Royal AM but was not comfortable with a co-coaching arrangement.
Malesela this week left Royal — where he co-coached with Khabo Zondo and Abram Nteo — to return to the team he left at the end of last season, Marumo Gallants.
Malesela steered Gallants, who were battling relegation when he joined them midseason, to a creditable 10th place in the DStv Premiership in 2021-22 and a defeat in the Nedbank Cup final against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Gallants let the coach go and raised eyebrows hiring a 31-year-old replacement, Romanian Romain Folz, who lasted only seven games.
Malesela, who revealed he intends to make his wife his representative, told Marawa Sports Worldwide he had no issues with the management at Royal.
“Just to clear everybody's minds there was nothing really wrong at Royal AM. The treatment I got was very good.
“I stayed in a very comfortable house at the [Royal] farm, quiet for me to think. It was more like being treated like royalty.”
Asked if he was happy in a co-coaching arrangement, Malesela said: “No, not really. That's the biggest thing I looked into because I had to sit down and check and say, 'What am I doing to this brand, Dan Malesela?'
“I consulted with my wife — probably I should be calling her my new manager. I said, 'I'm really struggling, I'm used to a certain way of doing things.'
“Not that the guys were doing anything bad, but I felt like I needed to take full responsibility of the surroundings, the sessions — I'm used to that — so that a philosophy can become visible.
“I got worried about the brand, Dan Malesela, to say, 'Am I hiding it behind other people?'
“I thought maybe I would rather take a step and look for something else that would justify Dan Malesela the brand.”
Malesela, who has made some questionable job decisions but also battled for opportunities, said he is considering letting his wife take charge of some of his career choices.
“If we make mistakes contractually we will point a finger at ourselves rather than anybody else.
“This brand doesn't just represent Dan and people who support Dan, it also represents my family. So the interests of my family and growth of my family lie within me.
“And my wife knows my struggles and my pain better than anybody else. At least if she'll be involved in this, and we'll come to point where we both understand where it happened, how it happened, or whether we were wrong or other people were wrong.”
Malesela had left Gallants under unhappy circumstances, saying he felt used by them and they gave him a salary of a First Division club’s standard. He was asked how, not for the first time in his career, he decided to return to a team he had issues with.
“I have learnt in this game that you cannot shut doors, especially when there are very few to open, for you to convince people what you can do,” he said.
“I always live in hope that eventually one will get things right and people would then understand, 'He made the right decision.' Until then I cannot write off anybody.
“There were times I said I would not go back to Chippa [United] and ended up going. Also 'Chippa [United owner Siviwe Mpengesi] probably gave me a chance when other people did not.”
Malesela steered TS Galaxy to listing the 2018-19 Nedbank Cup, famously beating Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in the final.
For more episodes, click here.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.