Coach Tinkler preserves the dignity of Msunduzi

As part of celebrating the youth month, Msunduzi municipality through sport development programme afforded the youth an opportunity to participate in soccer activities under The FNB Football First Legacy Programme.

The FNB Football First Legacy Programme is a partnership between Msunduzi Municipality and First National Bank. This programme has gifted Pietermaritzburg football playing boys and girls from grassroots level to under 13 and under 15 an opportunity to be coached by SAFA accredited coaches.

The 5 regions that participate in this prestigious programme are Toyando, George, Kimberly, Umtata and Pietermaritzburg, with each region holding an annual festival to identify talented and potential players to be coached by accredited coaches who have been sent for training by FNB for their accreditation or coaching licenses. The coaching clinics are from Monday to Wednesday, from 14h00 to 16h30.

 Children identified in the festival, are then coached by these recognized coaches, namely, Miss. M Khumalo, Mr. P Hlatswayo and Mr. T Sindane, whom are managed by Mr R Harrilal.

The 2019 schools that were selected to participate in the Pietermaritzburg festival are as follows: Edendale Tech (boys and girls), KwaPata High (boys and girls), Bisley Park Primary (boys and girls), Scottsville Primary (boys and girls), Smero High (boys), Laduma High (boys), Edendale Primary (boys), Pelham Primary (boys), Cleradon Primary (boys) and Northdale Squad.

On the day of the festival several school teams did not pitch up. That did not stop the proceedings as Muzithusi Primary (boys and girls), Siyahlomula High (boys and Girls) and Ashdown Primary (Girls) came through to fill the places for the schools that did not pitch up.

Held at Caluza Sports Centre Soccer Field, the games were a knockout system for the boys and a round robin for the girls. In a tight contested final for boys between Edendale Primary and Smero High, was eventually separated by a goal that saw Edendale Primary being crowned 2019 champions.

The girl’s final between Edendale Primary School and Siyahlomula High was also won by Edendale primary by a goal to nil. Nobahle Zulu was named as a player of the tournament and Khelweni was also named player of the tournament in the boy’s section.  

Players that were identified by the coaches based on their potential were selected to represent Pietermaritzburg region in the Soccer Festival that will take place in Johannesburg later this year. At this festival scouts from the Premier Soccer League teams comes to scout for players an

Things nearly went pear-shaped for the City of Choice when the soccer team from this city, Maritzburg United, was almost relegated at the end of the 2018/19 season.  Maritzburg finished last season with 27 points from 30 matches, and having scored 22 goals, while conceding 32.

The Team of Choice changed coaches many times. After helping Maritzburg United to finish the 2017/18 season lying on 4th position, and making it to the Nedbank Final in the 2017/18 season, things did not go well for Fadlu Davids in the 2018/19 season. Maritzburg United ended up firing Davids after the team ended up at the end of the log with only 11 points after 14 games.

Muhsin Ertugral who took over from Fadlu Davids was fired after failing to win even a single game in 5 matches. Tinkler quickly showed results in a very dire situation, given that the team had to win all remaining 12 games to avoid relegation.

Tinkler who once helped Orlando Pirates to reach CAF Finals and Cape Town City to win the Telkom Khockout, lived up to his reputation.Tinkler moved the team from the tail-end, in the process, qualifying for the playoffs against Royal Eagles and Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila. Maritzburg United cruised through the playoff’s by winning all their matches.

The Chairman of Maritzburg was encouraged by achievement and renewed Tinkler’s contract with the team. The relegation of the team would have disappointed many loyal fans who have been filling Harry Gwala Stadium although the team was not doing well. Without another team from the Umgungundlovu region, relegation would have the fans a big blow.

Tinkler is also commended for renewing the form and performance of players who seemed were no longer needed from other teams, in order to avoid relagation. That includes players like Thabiso Kutumela who was loaned from Orlando Pirates and Allana Kateregga and Judas Mosemaedi both loaned from Cape Town City.

Tinkler proved his mettle as a tactician since the teams from which these players came had given up on them but he gave them a full opportunity to save their footballing futures.  UMgungundlovu region can still be proud to have a team in the Premier Soccer League and credit goes to Eric Tinkler as his achievements show.