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News24.com | Nedbank Cup final: Every underdog has its day and Sekhukhune coach 'Brakkies' Truter is due




Brandon Truter (Gallo Images)

Brandon Truter (Gallo Images)

  • Sekhukhune United, under the guidance of Brandon Truter, have a win ratio of 63.16% in 22 matches.
  • Truter had previously been sacked at Swallows and AmaZulu, but now finds himself in the Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates.
  • Truter acknowledges that Pirates are favourites, but the coach is embracing the underdog tag.

Sekhukhune United owners and brothers, Simon and Jonas Malatji, had to make a tough decision when the 2022 FIFA World Cup break came in November and December, halting all global domestic leagues and competitions for at least five weeks.

Their club had played 12 matches under the guidance of former SuperSport United mentor Kaitano Tembo. However, he could only muster two wins among five losses and five draws, giving the Kempton Park-based club a win ratio of 16.67%.

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The turnaround was quick. In a matter of 11 days, the Malatji brothers announced Brandon “Brakkies” Truter as Tembo’s replacement, and the former Richards Bay mentor had eight weeks to work with his new squad before domestic football resumed.

The 52-year-old had been handed the short end of the stick in his previous two jobs at Swallows and AmaZulu. He guided the Birds back to the DStv Premiership – Swallows had been absent from South Africa’s top-flight for five years – by winning the National First Division.  

In Truter’s first taste of the big league, Swallows finished an admirable sixth pace in the 20/21 season.

The league’s top teams, Kaizer Chiefs in particular, swooped on their best players ahead of the 2021/22 season, and Truter was left to pick up the pieces with the club recruiting too many players, ultimately seeing them sack the Cape Town-born mentor less than three months into the campaign.

Five months later, Truter replaced fellow Capetonian and legendary Bafana Bafana star Benni McCarthy at AmaZulu.

Usuthu were in the trenches and fighting for survival. He rescued the KwaZulu-Natal club and secured a seventh-place finish, and the owners rightly handed him a three-year contract. Truter was relieved of his Usuthu duties five months later.

On both occasions at Swallows and AmaZulu, Truter was sacked ahead of the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final. But it seems that when Truter falls, he always gets back up and is stronger than before.

He now finds himself in the Nedbank Cup final with Sekhukhune taking on Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.

“I have been fired at my previous clubs, not just my last club when I’m always in the semi-final. I haven’t been fired. Now … I’m in the final, so thank-you to the owners for a bit of patience,” Truter said after beating Stellenbosch in the semi-final.

Under Truter’s tutelage, Sekhukhune have a win ratio of 63.16% from 22 matches – 12 wins, five draws and five defeats – with the club’s final fixture of the season, a Cup final against the mighty Buccaneers on Saturday.

“Brakkies” has not lost to the Buccaneers this season, forcing a 1-1 Premiership draw in October while at AmaZulu in October before his sacking. He held the Soweto giants by the same margin in May.

“I’m not one to blow my own horn, but in terms of my progress and my growth, I myself also have a very good technical team so that we can manage these clubs and players. The guys around me are absolutely important,” Truter said in response to a question on Thursday about his progress as a manager ahead of the highly anticipated final.

“It’s just not about me. I speak about what I’ve achieved, but God has been there [first] and then the technical team and the guys who I surround myself with.

“So yeah, [the final] it stands out as an achievement. I’m hoping and praying it’s not the last, but yeah, for now, it’s my first cup final.

“I’ve been close to a final before on a few times and, yeah, I just say, thank God at this moment.”

However, Truter still believes Pirates, a team he has not lost against this season, remain favourites come Saturday.

“For the first game with the win, I wasn’t there because I was still at AmaZulu at that time. In the second league game, it was the heart of defending. It’s an art as well.

“It takes a lot of coaching and a lot of understanding and awareness as well – as much as people talk about parking the bus, we can look at the Italians, how they do it and once we do it here in South Africa. It’s negative.

“You have to have a plan also – even if you’re parking the bus, you have to get out somehow. We are underdogs. Everything is in Pirates’ corner, but being underdogs also releases a bit of pressure … and that’s how we’re managing it at the moment as well.

“We’re going there without pressure. I think all the pressure is on (Pirates) to win another cup as well. But for us, it’s about the occasion of being underdogs. We welcome the tag as well.”

Kick-off is at 18:00. 

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