Sport

The bitter-sweet story of Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela

2019-05-19 19:00

TS Galaxy coach Dan “Dance” Malesela achieved in the Nedbank Cup what many local coaches can only dream of.

In guiding his upstarts from the NFD to a historic 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night, Malesela joined four of his compatriots who have attained this feat, although his achievement was made more special because he won it with a lower division team.

Other South African coaches to have the cup since Nedbank assumed sponsorship in 2008 are Trott Moloto with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2008; Roger de Sa followed with Bidvest Wits in 2010; Gavin Hunt did it with SuperSport United in 2012; and Pitso Mosimane was the last one to triumph with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2015.

Unlike this group, Malesela was never given a chance to prove himself at the highest level despite his potential and not forgetting that he reached the 2013 semifinal with United FC, who were also an NFD team, bravely bowing out 2-1 to Chiefs.

May 09.2019. TS Galaxy head coach Dan Malesela wit
Malesela was never given a chance to prove himself at the highest level despite his potential. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Instead, he reflected with sadness at how top local clubs have overlooked him despite his potential, while his boss, Galaxy owner Tim Sukazi sang his coach’s praises.

The worst treatment was meted out on him by Chippa United, who axed Malesela just three matches into the just-ended Absa Premiership campaign in his second spell with the Port Elizabeth-based club.

“I am used to this and will live with it,” said Malesela shortly after he re-wrote the history books on Saturday.

“I was taught not to prove a point. I was also taught not to go out for revenge.

“For me it is things that you go through that teach you how to go forward. One of the biggest assets I have equipped myself with is to have solutions. For every problem I think of a solution.”

Malesela – who turns 54 next week – said his famous victory was the fruit of the lessons his previous clubs taught him.

“I am hoping that is this is the beginning of bigger things to come,” he said, adding that winning promotion in the NFD was the ultimate goal.

I have won a few tournaments with the youth but it [the Nedbank Cup gold medal] cannot get bigger than this as a coach.”

On being overlooked by top-flight clubs

“My saddest moments in football are when people tell me ‘your teams are playing very well; you’re such a great coach’.

“But some people are doubting – sometimes I spend six months at home without a job. What did I do to be overlooked?

“I don’t Google, I don’t copy anybody. I create things. I am not praising myself but the people I work with will tell you how I operate.”

May 09.2019. TS Galaxy head coach Dan Malesela wit
TS Galaxy head coach Dan Malesela watches his charges at training. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Plaudits from boss

Meanwhile, Sukazi said Malesela’s achievement was more or an indication than making a bold statement on the potential of local coaches.

“It’s a clear illustration of the talent that our coaches have. A coach like Dance – who I rate highly – is a talented coach and a wise man generally,” said Sukazi.

However, a coach like him needed an enabling environment, which is what TS Galaxy has. And when the environment allows, it bring the best out of a person.

“Coach Dan has been in the PSL and he has attempted to reach finals of [knockout] competitions.

“Now he has won it with an NFD side and this can purely be attributed to an enabling environment he finds himself in. He knows the game I must say.”

May 09.2019. TS Galaxy head coach Dan Malesela wit
Dan Malesela with is technical support team. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Tribute to Galaxy fans

When referee Abongile Tom blew the final whistle, Malesela did not join his players for celebrations on the pitch but instead sprinted to the far side of the field to saviour the moment with the Galaxy supporters.

The Rockets had brought with them fans in the region of 6 000.

“These are the people who educated us in terms of handling crowds. The numbers they give us at our home games at Kamelrivier Stadium [in Syabuswa in Mpumalanga] is just unbelievable,” said the mentor from Mabopane.

“A different team from us would probably be 4-0 down by half-time. So the supporters really contributed to us winning the cup.”

Galaxy attracts on average, 10 000 fans at their homes games at the former KwaNdebele area.


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June 23 2019