JOHANNESBURG — Wilfred Mugeyi has revealed to PSL.co.za how he lured Benjani Mwaruwari to Chippa United, and looked back at some of the coaches that have been instrumental to him.
Mugeyi was thrown into the lions den so to speak, landing his first job as a head coach with a Chippa United side propping up the foot of the table.
Results have been mixed, but many have been impressed by the type of football the team are playing and the character and fight the players are showing under the Zimbabwean.
PSL.co.za caught up with the “Silver Fox”, a man that once terrorised defences during his own playing days in the ’90s with Bush Bucks.
PSL.co.za: You worked for numerous years as an assistant at Ajax Cape Town. Which of the head coaches you worked under taught you the most?
WM: Working with Muhsin Ertugral and Foppe de Haan was fantastic, I learnt a lot from those two, things which I am able to use today.
PSL.co.za: And as a player, which coach stood out for you?
WM: Most definitely Trott Moloto at Bush Bucks, under whom we won the Coca-Cola Cup. Trott knew how to bring the best out of me. He believed in me and that is what you want as a player.
PSL.co.za: You are seen by some in South African soccer circles as a “nice guy”. Do you have it within you to be hard on players when necessary?
WM: Yes I do. When I come to work, things change and I adapt to what the situation requires. If I need to wear my “lion-face” to show I mean business, I will do that. It’s about knowing your players and how to get the best out of them. In this respect it helps to have been a player myself.
It’s about assessing each player. You can’t always shout at the young players, they need encouragement and for you to show that you believe in them.
PSL.co.za: As a young coach, do you join your players during training?
WM: Yes, I certainly do. As a coach you need to demonstrate certain things. You need to make sure you can still kick a ball, you don’t want your players laughing at you!
PSL.co.za: What was your role in bringing Benjani to the club?
WM: We have been friends ever since we played together for Zimbabwe and even when he was in England we stayed in touch. As you know, he was training with Ajax, but they were taking their time in negotiating a deal.
So I told him: “We don’t need to look at you, I know what you’re capable of, we can offer you a deal right here and now.” I’m confident he will be a big asset to our side. —