Celtic's loyal servant Maduka slides into top job easily after Seema departure
John Maduka has taken to the head coaching job at Bloemfontein Celtic like a duck to water.
It need not surprise‚ though‚ given the number of years he’s spent at the club as a backroom man‚ watching a number of coaches strutting their stuff – some doing fairly well and others not as much so.
The Malawian was handed the enviable task of coaching Phunya Sele Sele after the departure of Lehlohonolo Seema‚ another former Celtic player who had been officially co-coach with Maduka‚ though seemed to take a more senior role.
Maduka had also been a long-serving team manager before he was deployed to sit next to Seema as his co-coach/assistant.
When Seema accepted the offer to coach Chippa United during the five months of lockdown‚ the Celtic management looked no further than Maduka as an apt replacement based on the five years he spent at the club as an industrious midfielder and the 10 in several roles in the backroom staff.
Looking at the results that Maduka has produced in his first four matches in the bio-bubble in Gauteng‚ it would seem his elevation to the hot seat was spot on and it could not have come at the right time for the cash-strapped Free State club.
Maduka‚ who celebrates his 50th birthday next month‚ eked another commendable 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits on Thursday‚ pushing his team to eighth spot in the Absa Premiership after maintaining the unbeaten run of three draws and one victory.
Maduka’s lone win is something he will forever cherish as it came against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs (3-1) in only his second match in charge‚ with striker Sera Motebang cancelling Eric Mathoho’s opener for Chiefs with a stunning brace before Victor Letsoalo completed the rout 16 minutes before full time.
“I think it was just unfortunate that we conceded an early [third-minute] penalty‚” Maduka said after the Wits game in which Celtic also equalised via a penalty in the 36th minute taken by captain Ndumiso Mabena.
“But after that we took the control of the game. We were more in control and we should have scored two or three more goals‚ but unfortunately we did not.
“In the second half it was difficult because they tried to play behind our defence. What we did was to introduce another striker so that we can stop them from their own half.
“I think it did work for us‚ we did want to have three points but we’ll take a point."
Maduka’s team’s chances of maintaining their position will depend on what they do in their last three matches against Polokwane City on Sunday‚ Lamontville Golden Arrows on Wednesday and Maritzburg United next Saturday.
“Every game is very difficult because you play after only two or three days‚” said Maduka.
“It’s not easy for the players but we have to continue playing until the games are finished. We’ll try to maintain our good performances so that we can still remain in top eight.”
At the rate Maduka has started his coaching career‚ you can almost bet on him delivering just that.
Source: ARENA Holdings.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.