Orlando Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena last lamented the lack of opportunity given to young coaches in South Africa. The 34-year-old, who has been standing in as Buccaneers boss since Milutin Sredojevic resigned in mid-August, is widely regarded as one of the brightest young minds in local football.
His appointment has not entirely been welcome, though, with critics arguing that his lack of experience could be a stumbling block in Soweto.
His critics seem to have some ammunition too after a troubled start to his tenure in which he has failed to win any of his first four games.
But the man himself says more confidence must be shown in young coaches and young South Africans in general.
Mokwena believes the game of football has transformed from the past, saying the next generation of coaches will not necessarily be people who played the game.
He himself never had a career as a professional footballer, instead focusing on his education, in which he has a degree in sports science. He says that times have changed.
Mokwena, whose side are presently 10th on the Absa Premiership table, pointed to Germany as a prime example of a country that has been giving young coaches opportunities. He spoke about Redbull Leipzig FC coach Julian Nagelsmann, a man that holds five years of coaching in Germany’s Bundesliga and is still only 32.
Whilst being outspoken on the matter of young coaches, Mokwena also acknowledged that it was a fine balancing act that chairperson of clubs had to deal with.
On the one hand, they wanted to empower people, but on the other there was the demand for results by the club as well as its supporters.
Mokwena conceded they were trying everything to turn things around at Pirates. – Report by Thahir Asmal