New dugout boss sets down marker

New Butterworth coach, Nyaniso Mfihlo, aims to help his side reach the top five teams in the third-tier league
New Butterworth coach, Nyaniso Mfihlo, aims to help his side reach the top five teams in the third-tier league
Image: Supplied

After finishing 12th in the 2017-18 ABC Motsepe season, Butterworth FC has acquired the services of Nyaniso Mfihlo as head coach, and the former politician says he’s up for the challenge.

Butterworth, formerly known as Walter Sisulu University, was the only team that held last season’s champions Tornado and runners-up EC Bees to draws last season. After winning five games, drawing seven, and losing nine they finished on 22 points.

Mfihlo, who is a former Sowetan reporter and National Freedom Party [NFP] provincial organiser, replaced former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Moses ‘Skepe’ Khanyeza, who led the team last season.

“When I was a reporter in 2011 I interviewed then mayor of Zululand municipality, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi about youth development, and she liked me, so I ended up working for the party in Eastern Cape.

“Then when she fell sick in 2014 I left the party, because there were factions within the party.

“So that’s when I decided to further my coaching education.

“Plus I was no stranger to football, because I was once a trialist at Bush Bucks. But the coach that wanted me at the time got fired before we could seal an agreement,” said Mfihlo.

In 2000 Mfihlo then went to try his luck at Ria Stars, after he received a call from Kenny Ndlazi, who was the coach at the time, but he didn’t get signed.

“So football has always been a part of me of my journey, and I started coaching at Ladysmith United and KwaMashu All Stars.

“So I’m hoping to bring in my experience to a talented team, but I want to focus my energy on defence.

“Because this team conceded about 34 goals last season and they managed to score 24 goals. So I’m fixing defence.

“Then we can look at improving our frontline, because my ambition is to take the club to the top five teams in the league.

“And then I want us to enter in the last 32 teams in the Nedbank Cup. But we’ll take each game at a time.”

Mfihlo, who already spent almost 30 days training with the team, said he was still trying to work his head around the players’ off-the-field commitments, such as school or work.

“That’s the challenge we have right now, but we are trying to adapt, and we are finding ways to help those players that can get to training on time.

“So they can also have the same fitness levels as their teammates.”

He said the club’s executive wanted to gain promotion to the National First Division, but he didn’t want to put his head on the chopping block by talking up promotion just yet.

“It’s still early days to talk about such, and right now we are preparing the boys for the new season. We’ve played two friendlies and we’ve drawn both games.

“And I have brought players from Natal United that I trust will help us in our campaign – Malibongwe Ntshoko, Sbusiso Shezi, Sboniso Mbatha and Mbongiseni Mhlongo.

“I know they are going to boost our campaign.”