Best of Chiefs yet to come - Ertugral
Best of Chiefs yet to come - Ertugral

Posted in News on Nov 26, 2001.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral believes the best is yet to come despite his side winning two trophies already and being on the verge of scooping continental silverware.

Speaking after adding the Coca-Cola Cup to the Amakhosi trophy cabinet, Ertugral said his side was still in a building phase and that current results were merely a bonus.

Before Saturday, Chiefs had already collected the BP Top Eight and the Vodacom Challenge titles.

They are now on course for the African Cup Winners Cup when they meet InterClub of Angola at Ellis Park in the second leg of the final, which has been named after former SA president Nelson Mandela. The first leg ended 1-1.

"The building process does not come overnight," said coach Ertugral. "First you have to select the right players to fit in well with your plans and make sure they understand exactly what you need."

The coach came under heavy criticism from some Amakhosi supporters after offloading some of the older players like Pollen Ndlanya, Frank Makua, Thabang Lebese.

"Last season when we sold 13 players a lot of people thought we were mad," recalled Ertugral. "But if you really want to succeed you must be prepared to bite the bullet. It was important for us to get rid of those players to make way for younger players to sustain the success of the club."

The process started with Ertugral's initial transformation two years ago. "It was necessary to transfer some of the players. The spirit in the camp was very down. Some of the players did not even talk to each other and to get a winning team we had to break down that wall."

Ertugral's arrival heralded a new era for the youth of Amakhosi. With the backing of management, Ertugral managed to blend in youth with experience.

"Players like Nhlanhla Kubeka, Jabu Pule and Isaac Mabotsa to name just a few, were there and you could see they had the potential and very hungry for success," said Ertugral. "But it took six months to one year for these players to mature."

The inclusion of academy coach Farouk Khan to the first team technical staff also strengthened and improved the relations between the two institutions. The presence of Khan on the technical staff made it easier for youngsters like Thabiso Malatsi to settle down and express themselves.

Coach Ertugral also encouraged the players to form a “players union” where the younger generation would have a player like Kubeka as their representative and Doctor Khumalo, Thabo Mooki and Brian Baloyi would represent the older players. This, Ertugral said, made communication easier and disputes were easily dealt with before reaching crisis proportions.

Ertugral attributes most of the success to the team. "I believe these days football is not an individual sport. It is a team sport but there’s room for individuals like Pule and Mooki to shine. But that must be done when the moment is right," said Ertugral.

Despite the team’s remarkable successes this year, the coach believes there is still more work to be done.

"The transformation I have been talking about is not yet complete," stressed Ertugral. "It will take us two more years to finally achieve that objective. The process will only be completed once the likes Rene Richards and Lucky Maselesele are regular players in the first team."

Ertugral emphasised that it would have not have been possible without the support of management, commitment from the players and the unwavering support for the Amakhosi followers.

"It has really been a team effort and I am very thankful to the management and the president, Mr Kaizer Motaung, for their support and understanding throughout," said Ertugral.

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