That number could be even worse were it not for Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits, the only two clubs to have kept the same man in the hot-seat for the entire three year period (Pitso Mosimane started off at Masandawana in December 2012, Gavin Hunt took charge of the Clever Boys in May 2013).
And while Sundowns and Wits are amongst the richest football clubs in South Africa and can, therefore, recruit some of the best available talents, it’s surely no coincidence that they have also been the most successful teams in terms of trophies won in recent years.
In total – at the 16 clubs currently in South Africa’s top flight – there have been 69 head coaches employed over a 36 month period, meaning that on average, each stint only lasts 8.3 months. Or, over the last three years, each team has on average had 4.3 coaches.
Top of the list is Free State Stars, who have had nine different head coaches in charge in this timeframe (10 if you include both of their recent co-coaches), while Chippa United are up there with eight. Baroka and Black Leopards have each had six different head coaches, with Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates next on the list with five coaches in three years.
Since late November 2018 – just over a month ago – as many as six new head coaches have been appointed in the PSL, with a seventh still to come – once Bloemfontein Celtic decide who will replace the latest casualty, Steve Komphela.
Komphela is now at Golden Arrows and would have had to relocate from Bloemfontein, where he had spent only five months after previously being based in Johannesburg during his time with Kaizer Chiefs.
Financial rewards can be very good at the top clubs. But on the flip side, job stability is just about non-existent, with coaches regularly forced to uproot their families and move to a new town or to leave their loved ones at home as they take up employment and temporary residence in another part of the country.
In some cases, a coach can lose the support and respect of his players – there can be relationship breakdowns, and the coach may feel he has taken the team as far as he can.
The arrival of a new man with fresh energy and ideas does often tend to bring about an upturn in results, initially at least, but more seldom on a longer-term basis.
However, and too often it would seem, interference from above – club bosses wanting to exert control over team matters, together with unrealistic expectations – has contributed to coaches being shown the door.
It’s generally the clubs which have more stable environments, those teams with a higher level of consistency, who are successful. Such a high turnover of coaches simply can’t be good for the game in this country.
How can a club even begin to think about implementing a playing-style, or recruitment policies, or streamlining their youth development structures, if they have two or three coaches each year? It also means the players having to constantly adapt to new methods and a new personality.
The answer could perhaps lie in the appointment of a Football or Sporting Director, as European clubs are increasingly starting to do. Ideally, this is a long-term position, involving someone with both the football expertise and the management skills required to try and fulfil the owners’ ambitions for the team, in a rational and planned manner, rather than on emotion.
Below is the full list of all head coaches employed by the 16 current PSL teams for the last three years.
AmaZulu (3 coaches)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Steve Barker
Intervening coaches: Joey Antipas
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Cavin Johnson (Appointed on: August 8, 2017)
Baroka FC (6)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Kgoloko Thobejane
Intervening coaches: Jacob Sakala, Kgoloko Thobejane, MacDonald Makhubedu, Doctor Khumalo
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Wedson Nyirenda (Appointed on: June 15, 2018)
Bidvest Wits (1)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Gavin Hunt
Intervening coaches: None
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Gavin Hunt (Appointed on: May 28, 2013)
Black Leopards (6)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Kosta Papic
Intervening coaches: Sello Chokoe, Jean-Francois Losciuto, Ivan Minnaert, Joel Masutha
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Dylan Kerr (Appointed on: November 19, 2018)
Bloemfontein Celtic (5)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Serame Letsoaka
Intervening coaches: John Maduka, Lehlohonolo Seema, Veselin Jelusic, Steve Komphela
Head coach on January 1, 2019: None
Cape Town City / MP Black Aces (3)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Muhsin Ertugral
Intervening coaches: Eric Tinkler
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Benni McCarthy (Appointed on: June 13, 2017)
Chippa United (8)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Dan Malesela
Intervening coaches: Mbuyiselo Sambu, Dan Malesela, Teboho Moloi, Vladislav Heric, Dan Malesela, Eric Tinkler
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Joel Masutha (Appointed on: December 2, 2018)
Free State Stars (9)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Giovanni Solinas
Intervening coaches: Denis Lavagne, Themba Sithole, Giovanni Solinas, Serame Letsoaka, Sammy Troughton, Luc Eymael, Sly Mosala/ David Vilakazi (co-coaches)
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Nikola Kavazovic (Appointed on: December 20, 2018)
Golden Arrows (2)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Clinton Larsen
Intervening coaches: None
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Steve Komphela (Appointed on: December 28, 2018)
Highlands Park (4)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Allan Freese
Intervening coaches: Gordon Igesund, Terry Mulondzo
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Owen Da Gama (Appointed on: September 25, 2017)
Kaizer Chiefs (3)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Steve Komphela
Intervening coaches: Giovanni Solinas
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Ernst Middendorp (Appointed on: December 7, 2018)
Maritzburg United (5)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Ernst Middendorp
Intervening coaches: Fadlu Davids (interim), Roger De Sa, Fadlu Davids,
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Muhsin Ertugral (Appointed on: December 28, 2018)
Mamelodi Sundowns (1)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Pitso Mosimane
Intervening coaches: None
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Pitso Mosimane (Appointed on: December 2, 2012)
Orlando Pirates (5)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Eric Tinkler
Intervening coaches: Muhsin Ertugral, Augusto Palacios, Kjell Jonevret
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Milutin Sredojevic (Appointed on: August 3, 2017)
Polokwane City (4)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Julio Cesar Leal
Intervening coaches: Luc Eymael, Bernard Molekwa
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Jozef Vukusic (Appointed on: July 1, 2018)
SuperSport United (4)
Head coach on January 1, 2016: Gordon Igesund
Intervening coaches: Stuart Baxter, Eric Tinkler
Head coach on January 1, 2019: Kaitano Tembo (Appointed on: March 2, 2018)