Coach’s earned right to stay at Chippa


Chippa United supporters heaved a collective sigh of relief as their team retained their top-flight status at the weekend. It took a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs on the final day of the Absa Premiership season for Clinton Larsen’s squad to pull off their great escape.The relieved Chilli Boys mentor spoke after the game about how it had been his first relegation battle in 10 years of his coaching. He also stressed he never wanted it again.Larsen needs to be commended for managing to do what many thought had reached the stage of improbability. He never lost faith in his players’ ability or his own nous to get the job done.When Larsen took over the job from Joel Masutha in early January, he became Chippa’s fifth coach for 20182019. The season was just past its halfway stage and the Port Elizabeth-based side were lying rock bottom of the standings on 12 points from 17 matches. The team had also gone 10 matches without a win and they were desperate.Larsen got off to a flying start with a victory and went on to collect 18 points in the team’s last 13 games.Crucially, there were back-to-back victories over Polokwane City and Chiefs in the last two games.Owner Siviwe Mpengesi takes the credit for getting and, perhaps even keeping, Larsen on board. But if he is honest with himself he will know that having that many coaches in a season is not good business.Mpengesi is an unorthodox and independent-minded owner who has often pulled his trigger finger on a whim.He may tell you it is his team and he can do with it whatever he likes. Perhaps so, but he needs to remember that the ratepayers of our metro are paying millions for his team to be here. There has to be accountability to stakeholders for the way he manages his football affairs.If sanity prevails, Mpengesi will realise that now is the time for continuity. Larsen appears to be moulding the crux of a competitive team and he has earned the right to help nurture it even more next season.Let’s hope he is afforded a fair opportunity.

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