Mamelodi Sundowns will stick with coach Johan Neeskens for the upcoming Premier Soccer League campaign.
Despite their failure to win any silverware last season, president Patrice Motsepe has opted to keep Neeskens at the helm.
Sundowns spokesperson Kabelo Mosito told KickOff.com that the Dutchman will still be calling the shots this week when the players assemble to begin their pre-season training.
“The coach is still in charge,” Mosito said. “The players will be back for training on Thursday to begin preparing for the season. The club has faith in the abilities of the coach and he has the backing of the president.”
The decision to continue with Neeskens appears to be a deviation of recent club policy by Motsepe, who has been quick to fire coaches during the club’s five-year trophy drought.
Former coaches Henri Michel, Hristo Stoichkov and Antonio Habas were all ejected from the hot-seat before completing a full season with Sundowns, who last won the league title in 2007.
Retired Bafana Bafana striker Phil Masinga, who also played for Sundowns, predicts better fortunes ahead for the Brazilians, who finished fourth in the league last season.
“Such continuity will be very important for Sundowns. Quickly firing coaches has in the past worked against the success of the club. Neeskens has a chance to complete what he started and should now prove that keeping him was the correct decision,” Masinga said.
“Sundowns have the ability and the players to do well and I believe things will be different this season.”
Sundowns have managed to hang onto a number of key players such as Teko Modise and Katlego Mphela, while the recent acquisition of striker Edward Manqele from Free State Stars will once again make them one of the favourites to win the league.