The former Dikwena coach took the Rustenburg outfit – in his first full season as head coach – from bottom half of the log finishers to runners-up. They were sandwiched between Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs as Absa Premiership champions and Orlando Pirates in third place.
“You have to look at the people I had around me,” Johnson said at the graduation ceremony yesterday at Safa House where 60 coaches were given their Caf A License.
“There was Floyd Mbele and Jason Raine at the office and I also had a good technical team. I understood Platinum Stars’ philosophy so it was easy to take over effortlessly.”
Allan Freese continued effortlessly where Johnson left when he joined Matsatsantsa, guiding Dikwena to their first cup in seven years this season.
Johnson took what he learned from Stars to United where he promoted Kwanele Kopo from the club’s development structures to being his assistant. A man Johnson describes as “one of the better coaches in the country”.
Kopo will be by Johnson’s side on Saturday afternoon at Lucas Moripe Stadium in the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout against Orlando Pirates. Later that day Freese and his Stars take on Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium.
This will be an opportunity for Johnson to tick some of the boxes of his requirements with Matsatsantsa: winning things and playing attractive football.
“With all respect to Gavin Hunt who was there before me, a three-time league winner,” Johnson said, “I want this team to play a different brand of football and also incorporate the development structures which are among the best in the country.”
Jabu Mahlangu, formerly Pule, won’t be involved in achieving those goals as a player after he was unveiled as the club’s ambassador.
“He isn’t signed to the team as a player, he is just our ambassador,” Johnson said. “If we ever look at signing him, it would be something we would look at further down the line, not now.”