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Sat Apr 19 16:48:35 SAST 2014

De Sa 'shocked' by his sudden sacking

SY LERMAN | 12 July, 2012 06:370 Comments
Roger de Sa during the Bidvest Wits media open day at Sturrock Park on December 06, 2011 in Johannesburg
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

TWELVE years as a key player, player-coach, head coach, acting CEO and then again as head coach - only to wake up one morning and find out that you have been summarily sacked.

"I was fired," revealed former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and long-time Wits coach Roger de Sa, who still had a year to run on his contract.

"Surprised? It was more than that. I was shocked and stunned and it was for me bordering on disbelief."

De Sa was summoned to a meeting with new CEO Jose Ferreira on Monday and told it was not working out "between us".

"What I found quite amazing was that I was already deeply involved in a training programme and ambitious plans for the new season at Wits," he said.

"We had acquired a number of top players to fill key positions and were set to make a concerted bid for the Premier League title. Then this hit me like a bolt of lightning."

But De Sa has accepted his fate.

"This is the precarious reality that all soccer coaches face. You just don't know when you might get the bullet."

De Sa said he gave his heart and soul to Wits. "I always did my best, often working at the club from the early morning until 10pm."

He said he was proud of his legacy - one of the best development structures in South African football, from which talent had often been snapped up by rich clubs like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.

He said Wits had hoped to add to their Nedbank Cup victory of a few seasons ago.

"We had some impressive starts in the Premier League title race, but unfortunately these petered out before the end of the season.

"Possibly we lacked a little experience, but with the signing of seasoned players like [Zimbabwean Tinashe] Nengomasha from Chiefs and former Newcastle United and Sundowns' [Matthew] Pattison, this shortcoming could have been rectified ."

Speculation on a successor has thrown up the names of Ruud Krol, Gavin Hunt and Clive Barker. De Sa's assistants Eric Tinkler and Ashley Makhanya are interim coaches at the club.

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De Sa 'shocked' by his sudden sacking

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