A FEW years ago a couple of irate Moroka Swallows supporters decided they didn’t like the club’s coach very much and got it into their heads to kidnap the man.

Swallows had lost two out of 10 matches under Walter da Silva but the hooligans decided they’d seen enough and bundled the hapless Brazilian into the boot of a car. It was one of the craziest moments in South African soccer history.

While Da Silva had received several death threats from people who demanded he leave The Birds’ nest, the coach never thought that things would descend to such alarming levels.

The kidnappers later decided to make changes on the Swallows bench and demanded he phone his technical assistants and tell them to leave the stadium ahead of a game against the legendary Imbabala — Bush Bucks. They duly obeyed and left the stadium.

The kidnappers drove around Johannesburg for about three hours before finally releasing Da Silva unhurt at a shopping centre parking lot. Proving that they were common thugs first before they were Swallows supporters, they made off with the R1, 500 he had in his pocket.

He died of a heart attack five years ago and his brush with those thugs is a constant reminder of the volatility of the coaching profession.

There exist some fanatics in this part of the world who become so emotional after their clubs lose that they wade into some really dangerous territory.

I’m talking about supporters who think nothing of taking leave from work for the sole purpose of driving to a training ground to insult a coach.

Craig Rosslee is the latest victim of this madness and the betting office is no longer accepting odds on whether he will still be AmaZulu coach by the end of the week.

Rosslee has been coach since November 2012 and his contract ends at the end of the season, in May next year. But judging by the way things are going in Durban, his stay is about to come to a premature end.

AmaZulu are the only club in the premiership yet to win a match this season and the seven-match winless run has only served to fuel the notoriously fickle supporters’ ire.

Rosslee has been coach since November 2012 and his contract ends at the end of the season, in May next year. But judging by the way things are going in Durban, his stay is about to come to a premature end.

Irate fans arrived at the club’s training ground last week and began to direct insults at the hapless coach that would have embarrassed a sailor.

The group told all who cared to listen that they wanted Rosslee sacked and replaced by another coach.

A seemingly unfazed Rosslee continued with training and never answered his tormentors.

The full extent of what happened in those insane minutes must have hit Rosslee hard when he got home as he did not return to the training ground the next day.

AmaZulu took the unusual decision of asking Rosslee to temporarily step aside because, as club boss Lunga Sokhela told this columnist, it would have been irresponsible to ignore the threats. Rosslee’s place on the bench was taken by his assistant, Wilfred Mugeyi, in their Telkom Knockout Last 16 encounter against Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday night.

Sokhela said a flurry of ‘‘disturbing text messages and phone calls" were made to his cellphone over the past few days and they became more serious with each passing day.

Other members of AmaZulu also received the threats and things have got out of control.

"We can all show you the threatening SMSes," he said. ‘‘We have also had supporters coming to the ground, walking on to the pitch while training is going on and telling the coach to go. We have had phone calls to the office receptionist, faxes sent, you name it."

AmaZulu will make a decision on Rosslee’s future this week and indications are he will not continue in the job.

He will be asked to leave or he will do it on his own.

But what does this mean in the greater scheme of things? Does this mean supporters have figured that violence always yields the required results?

It has been happening across the country for many years now and you have to wonder if the soccer bosses and even the coaches are enabling this madness by bowing to pressure from angry supporters.

There nothing beautiful about this game when its ugly side is allowed to have the upper hand in this manner.

See more articles

Our Network