From left: Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace), Roger De Sa (Ajax CT), Jorge Jesus (Sporting) and Gordon Igesund (SuperSport United)
Wednesday Jul 22, 2015. 12:19
The Cape Town Cup will get underway on Friday evening, with SuperSport United taking on Crystal Palace and Sporting Clube de Portugal battling hosts Ajax Cape Town. We take a closer look at the coaches of the four teams.
Ajax Cape Town – Roger De Sa
Born in Mozambique, Roger De Sa went on to represent South Africa in basketball, indoor soccer and football – as a goalkeeper, he was a member of Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations winning squad in 1996. De Sa took up coaching in the early 2000s and enjoyed early success, earning the PSL Coach of the Season award in 2002/03 after leading Wits University to a third-placed finish. He has had two spells with Wits, the second of which saw him win the Nedbank Cup in 2010. In 2013 he took Orlando Pirates to the final of the CAF Champions League where they lost to Egyptian giants Al Ahly. He resigned from the post soon after, but took up the reins at Ajax Cape Town in early 2014. This past season he led the Urban Warriors to a fifth place finish in the PSL.
SuperSport United – Gordon Igesund
A highly-regarded striker during his playing career, Gordon Igesund took up coaching in the mid-1990s. He quickly gained success by leading unfashionable KwaZulu-Natal side Manning Rangers to the title in the inaugural Premier Soccer League season in 1996/97. He then took Orlando Pirates to the championship in 2000/01, though he soon left the club after supporters criticised his team’s style of play. The very next season he underlined his brilliance as a coach by taking unfancied Santos to the title. He then had several seasons in charge at Ajax Cape Town, before moving to Mamelodi Sundowns in 2006, where he promptly claimed another league title – this means Igesund has the unique record of having won four PSL titles with four different clubs. His CV also includes a spell at Moroka Swallows where he saved the team from relegation before very nearly winning the championship the following season. He then became South Africa’s national team coach in 2012, with the highlight of his tenure a quarterfinal showing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Last season he took over at SuperSport United and won the Telkom Knockout before ending the PSL in sixth place.
Crystal Palace – Alan Pardew
A midfielder who represented the likes of Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur and Barnet in his playing career, Alan Pardew first moved into coaching by becoming Reading’s caretaker manager in 1998. He went on to become the club’s permanent manager and gained a reputation as one of the best up-and-coming British coaches in the early 2000s. This led to a spell at West Ham United from 2003 to 2006 which saw Pardew guide the Hammers back into the Premier League and finish as runners-up in the 2006 FA Cup. Spells at Charlton and Southampton followed, before Pardew was named Newcastle United’s manager in late 2010. In the 2011/12 season, he took the Magpies to an impressive fifth place finish and was named Manager of the Season. After this high, Pardew’s stock as Newcastle gradually dropped until he left the club in late 2014, before taking up the reins at Crystal Palace in January 2015. Under their new manager, the Eagles went on to claim their best ever Premier League finish of 10th.
Sporting – Jorge Jesus
A midfielder who had a well-travelled but relatively undistinguished career, Jorge Jesus moved into coaching in the early to mid-1990s. He enjoyed solid but unspectacular spells at a number of Portuguese clubs before coming to prominence with Braga from 2008 to 2009. He then took charge of Benfica and led the Eagles to their first league title in five years and reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League. A further two league titles, one Portuguese Cup and five successive League Cups, as well as successive runners-up finishes in the Europa League in 2013 and 2014 followed for Benfica and Jesus, who wrote his name into the club’s history with his achievements. It then came as something of a shock when in June 2015, just a month after leading the Eagles to the league title, Jesus signed a three-year contract with Sporting CP, the club he started his playing career with way back in the early 1970s.