Champion coaches hail life-changing experience
By MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE two fans that had the opportunity to coach Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates during the just-ended Carling Black Label Cup have described the exercise as a life-changing experience.
Sydney Molepo sat on the Chiefs dugout while Tumo Mokone was at the helm of Pirates as the latter retained the trophy after a 4-3 penalty shootout win at the FNB Stadium.
They were chosen as Champion Coaches following a rigorous process that saw fans select players that will feature for the respective sides in the season-opening charity match.
Chiefs’ loss to their sworn rivals for the second successive edition of the Caring Black Label Cup did not deter Molepo, who was still basking in the glory of having “coached” one of the most popular teams in the continent.
“It was a life-changing experience,” said Molepo after the teams finished 1-1 in regulation time and had to be separated by a shootout.
“It was an awesome feeling. Just yesterday, I was just a fan of the club but today, I am a coach. Who says dreams cannot come true? I enjoyed myself and this is an experience I will take with me everywhere I go for the rest of my life,” added Molepo.
Chiefs head coach, Steve Khompela, sang the praises of Molepo.
“He is an intelligent man. I enjoyed sitting alongside him on the bench,” Khompela said.
Pirates’ coach for the day, Mokone was thrilled.
“What a mind-blowing and life-changing experience,” Mokone beamed after his team’s success at the sold-out FNB Stadium.
“The players and the technical team both welcomed me with open arms. There was no interference and I enjoyed the free role coaching the side. The opportunity to coach Pirates afforded me a chance to rub shoulders with the team’s greats such as Tobogo Moloi and Edward Motale,” added Mokone.
Pirates head coach, Eric Tinkler, hailed Mokone’s impact in helping The Bucs continue their dominance over Chiefs in the competition.
Pirates have won the trophy four times to Chiefs single success.
“Tumo did a fantastic job. He was brilliant during the team talk, which helped clam the nerves of players. He eased the tension that usually grips the players ahead of the derby,” Tinkler said.
Ten Champion Coaches, five for each side, have in the past five years been chosen to lead the two sides in the Carling Black Label Cup.
Said to be the first such tournament of its kind, fans select players for starting berths and are empowered to make substitutions via sms.
– CAJ News
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