South African football superstar Doctor Khumalo announced on Thursday he was leaving Kaizer Chiefs after 31 years as a player and coach with the Soweto giants‚ and taking up a position as technical director of Baroka FC.
Khumalo said his decision followed a meeting with Chiefs’ chairman Kaizer Motaung on Tuesday‚ where he was given his blessings to move on from the club.
At a press conference in Bramley‚ Johannesburg‚ Khumalo thanked Chiefs‚ and particularly Motaung‚ for the part they played in the immense football brand he had become.
An emotional Khumalo recalled his Chiefs debut as a 16-year old in the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates at Ellis Park in 1987.
“Thirty-one years ago I line up with the greats of SA football at Ellis Park‚” he said.
Doctor Khumalo set to be named Baroka technical director after leaving Kaizer Chiefs
Khumalo later added: “I’m doing this because I just want to do something else. And I’m doing this because I love the game and I want to grow.
“The game has evolved and you can see most of the young coaches are taking charge of teams.
“But make no mistake this is not about Benni McCarthy becoming Cape Town City coach and Eric Tinkler coach of SuperSport United.”
Baroka’s head coach is Kgoloko Thobejane‚ who steered the promoted team to surviving relegation via a 15th-placed finish last season and then winning the promotion-relegation playoffs.
Khumalo appealed for the SA media not to speculate that he might‚ as has been the case in the past in SA football‚ have been brought in as technical director with a view to replacing Thobejane should Baroka struggle in form.
Khumalo was replaced as Chiefs coach Steve Komphela’s assistant by then-recently retired Ghanaian Maritzburg right-back John Paintsil at the beginning of last season.
He was redeployed to an obscure position in Chiefs’ development.
This season he was overlooked for a place on Amakhosi’s bench again as former defender Patrick Mabedi was appointed Komphela’s assistant.
Baroka kick off their 2017-18 PSL season against Polokwane City in a Limpopo at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium at 3pm on Saturday.