Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey says communication will be extremely crucial for newly appointed Mamelodi Sundowns co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena if the duo are to successfully negotiate the inevitable demands of their co-existence in the dugout.
Tovey is more than qualified to make an assessment of events at Chloorkop as he was co-coach with Argentine Miguel Ángel Gamondi when Sundowns won the league title in 2006.
Mngqithi and Mokwena replaced the extremely successful Pitso Mosimane on Sunday after the larger-than-life mentor joined Egyptian powerhouses Al Ahly in one of the most dramatic career moves by a South African coach a few days ago.
Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe gave the two coaches a mandate to pick up where Mosimane left off and he expects them to maintain the club’s dominance in SA football. Tovey said the biggest challenge they face is ensuring that they speak in one voice‚ and to also find a way to discuss their differences behind closed doors rather than in public. “It is all about not having an ego‚ first of all‚ and secondly it is about understanding the role where you want to come across‚ and what role each of you want to prioritise‚” he said.
“Obviously you make collective decisions but you could say ‘okay let me concentrate of the defensive and maybe you can concentrate of the offensive.
“These are all the different things you can do to make it happen a lot better. But collectively‚ of course‚ you have to think as one.”
The former Bafana captain and South African Football Association technical director said it would be important for the two coaches to maintain a unified front‚ especially in front of the players and the public.
“You can’t be seen to be clashing if you have differing thoughts‚ which can happen‚” he continued.
“Everybody sees the game differently and it is all about the communication between each other‚ and that is extremely important. If you do see things differently‚ then you can communicate and one decision must be made‚ and you must be able to both take responsibility for that decision.
“You cannot say ‘oh well Miguel it was your decision and I told you that it was wrong‚ I am not responsible. No‚ it does not work like that.”
Gamondi arrived in South Africa in 2005 as the assistant to Argentine compatriot Angel Capa but was soon elevated to the hot seat when Motsepe appointed him as joint-coach with Tovey.
The duo led Sundowns to the league title in the following year‚ pipping Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs to the finish line with 57 points.
Tovey said Mngqithi and Mokwena would need to quickly find their own footing and not lean too heavily on their predecessor’s blueprint.
“Fortunately they understand the players and the dynamics [of the club]‚ so I don’t think they will change too much from what Pitso was doing. As you say they were in the club before‚ as was Miguel and I [in 2006]‚ although we still tried to do our own thought processes.
“They must not try to be like Pitso‚ they must be themselves.”