Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mapeza’s successor lasts just one game

Just four months after replacing Norman Mapeza at Chippa United, coach Rhulani Mokwena will leave the turbulent club when his loan deal from Orlando Pirates expires next week.

Rhulani Mokwena, coach of Orlando Pirates during the 2019 Telkom Knockout Quarter Final Orlando Pirates Press Conference at the PSL Offices, Johannesburg on the 31 October 2019 (Picture by ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

He was in charge of just one match.

This means the former Pirates gaffer would have spent two months less than Mapeza at one of the world’s most chaotic football clubs.

Chilli Boys chief operating officer, Lukhanyo Mzinzi, confirmed that the former Pirates and Sundowns assistant coach will not be in Port Elizabeth when the season resumes.

“The issue with Rhulani, we had a short contract and it is ending next week. We won’t be extending,” Mzinzi told KickOff.com.

The Chippa official said the decision to allow Mokwena’s deal to lapse had nothing to do with allegations that the squad broke lockdown regulations by training at Kings Beach.

“It has nothing to do with what has been said. It was a decision based on the fact that the club can’t commit on other things,’’ he said. “You’ve seen what lockdown has done to other companies.

“A decision will be made next week on who will replace the head coach but we are not planning to bring in anybody else from outside for now.”

The young mentor became the first coach in the history of the Premier Soccer League to be “seconded” by his parent club, Orlando Pirates, to the Chilli Boys dugout just a few weeks shy of the nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

His agent, Steven Kapelushnick, stressed that the arrangement was always to be at the club until the end of the season, which would have been until June 30 under normal circumstances pre-Covid.

“Rhulani signed a contract that terminates at the end of this month. It was imperative for him to honour his contract — even while he was there I had calls for his services from other teams and those were rejected out of hand because he wanted to honour his Chippa contract,” Kapelushnick explained.

“He went to Chippa and gave a 150 percent. He analysed the team and he had a very good understanding with Chippa (Mpengesi).

“His contract is now ending and we have decided that it is time to move on. It was always a short term contract, an exploratory contract on both sides.”

There were claims that Mokwena was difficult to work with, threatened to have Chippa cut the salaries of players who did not want to return to training ahead of the resumption of the campaign and also demanded R400 000 a month for a new contract when the current arrangement between Pirates and the Chilli Boys expired.

“I need to place on record that this has nothing to do with money — I don’t know where this R400k is coming from.

“He has spent four months at the club and we did have discussions with Chippa and we couldn’t find each other, and after some soul-searching, Rhulani has decided that it’s time to move on and wants to thank the chairman for his time there, but he just feels it’s time to move on.”

Mpengesi is notorious for sending coaches packing in a short space of time, and Mokwena, who was the club’s third mentor this season alone after Clinton Larsen and, was in charge of a single game.

“When we signed nobody knew that this would happen. It’s not fair to Rulani or Chippa to say he only lasted one game.

“The contract has expired — so Chippa and Rulani had to make a decision on whether he stays or goes. Rulani decided he wants to go. It’s all amicable, nothing to do with money,” his agent explained. — Kick-Off/Laduma