‘Meddling’ by Richards Bay boss blamed for team’s poor showing

KwaZulu-Natal-based football outfit Richards Bay FC boss Sifiso “Jomo” Biyela has refused to be drawn into speculations that he was the cause of his team’s woes after reports surfaced he had butted heads on several occasions with his coaching staff and players.

The club known as the Natal Rich Boys introduced themselves to the elite Premier Soccer League (PSL) as one of the teams to beat in the 2022/23 season, but their impressive run soon turned into a scramble to avoid relegation.

Sunday World understands that there was general unhappiness in the team from the north coast of the province on how they had fared. Fingers are pointing to Biyela for allegedly micromanaging and meddling in the team’s selection.

“The problem with him (Biyela), he refuses to allow coaches to do their work unhindered. He should take the fall for Richards Bay’s poor showing.

“We started the season well and we really deserve to be in the top eight. The problem is that the chairperson wants to participate in the selection of the team. He would dictate that non-performing players should be fielded because they were close to him,” one staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation told Sunday World this week.

The sentiments were echoed by another staff member who said some players felt that they were bigger than the team.

“We struggled with discipline because some players believed they enjoyed protection from top management. We had players who did not report for training without giving any explanation, but they wanted to be selected on match day,” he said.

Another insider said most players had been psychologically affected by the tragic death of Sphamandla Mtolo, the club’s captain who collapsed and died during training.

But Biyela said he would not comment on his team’s assessment and his alleged interference. Instead would wait for the resumption of the league.

“At the moment, the season is closed and we are all resting at home. Everything that pertains to the team can only be discussed once we go back to training,” Biyela said.

The Natal Rich Boys at some stage were counted among the top four best performing teams in the PSL, even occupying second spot in the first half of the league. But eventually the chickens came home to roost with the team finishing in 13th position.

Despite relegating former head coach Pitso Dladla and promoting Vasili Manousakis, things didn’t improve.

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