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Eric Tinkler has bigger targets for his career

11 June 2017 - 02:00 By NJABULO NGIDI

Just over a decade later, Eric Tinkler admits that a decision that didn't sit well with him then shaped him to be the coach that he is today."I go back to 2005 when I joined [Bidvest] Wits and they were relegated to the NFD [National First Division]," Tinkler said."I was asked to come in as a player and an assistant coach. Back then, already in my mind I wanted to be a head coach. Fortunately, that didn't happen. I say fortunately now because that's the truth."The fact that I came in as an assistant, got involved in the youth structure, moved on to [Orlando] Pirates and worked as an assistant coach to gain more experience before I became a head coach was all part and parcel of my growth."As part of looking to grow even further, Tinkler, 46, left the exciting project he had with Cape Town City to join SuperSport United on a three-year contract from July 1.United's chief executive Stanley Matthews stopped short of describing the club's union with Tinkler as a match made in heaven. Tinkler helped shape the Wits academy, and now he is part of a United side that has one of the best development structures in the country.The former Bafana Bafana star has also done well on the African continent. He served as Roger de Sa's assistant in Pirates' march to the 2013 Caf Champions League final. Two years later, as head coach, Tinkler guided the Buccaneers to the Caf Confederation Cup final — a tournament United are currently playing in the group stage and will return with the team next year should they win the Nedbank Cup.Tinkler arrives at United without his competency questioned, as was the case when he was promoted at Pirates and when he joined City."I stay away from that [comments of people who have doubted his pedigree in the past]," Tinkler said."I think that way too much attention is given to the media of late. That's no disrespect, but with Twitter, Facebook, this and that. I was watching this Cape storm thing. Now, individuals are becoming media people with their comments, videos, this and that. If you start believing all of that, it will drive you insane. I know what my targets and objectives are."For a "young coach", a tag he does not like, Tinkler has quickly reached a number of his objectives — coaching a big team, building a club from scratch and shaping an academy."When I started at Wits [as head of development], there were no national team players. Within a space of two years, we had 23 national players," he said. "The greater goal of all of this is to be recognised as a top SA football coach, across the continent of Africa and to be possibly recognised, going forward, in Europe. How do you do that? By winning things. That's what I want to do here."..

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