Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Thabang Rooi (right) has taken a sabbatical from coaching to focus on getting his coaching C licence.
The former Maritzburg United man changed his surname from Rooi to his father’s surname, Makhanya after his last season as a footballer.
Rooi says after mending his relationship with his father while he was tackling strikers on the field, he has had the ceremony to have his surname changed.
The 36-year-old says he was ready to give up on football after retiring and to focus on building a life that doesn’t involve the sport and the politics around the beautiful game, but decided to take his wife’s as well as his late brother’s advice on leading from the bench.
“My brother would always tell me not to quit, he would say keep going, don’t give up, now go study to be a coach, my wife too, they both believed I had to coach. I know I am a natural-born leader, I learned this about myself when I was at Witbank Spurs and they never allowed me to quit, so after my brother passed away, I decided to honour him by becoming a coach. I thought doing something he had always wanted to see me do would be a good way to remember him. I went and got my D licence and started working at Vaal Professionals in Sharpeville.”
The Sharpeville-born former defender says applying European methods of football to the South African style doesn’t benefit local football, stating that studying the formations of big European sides through their competitive matches is not enough as the work they do away from the field is not highlighted on match day or in public.
Rooi has urged South African coaches at development level to focus on helping players identify their strengths and weakness so they can play in a position that suits their skill-set.
The 36-year-old says the South African style of football has been diluted because of the different coaching styles that have been introduced over the years in the local league, and proposes that South African footballers should quit looking to Europe for the answer and discover what they are good at and capable of doing on the field and develop their individual styles from then on.
“The important thing is to learn the weakness and strengths of a person, then trying to change our football identity as South Africans, from academy level to SAB up to ABC level some coaches, they turn to take the European way of doing things and forget that overseas football is a full-time job to these coaches, they have different training methods the conditioning of the players.
“Our local coaches will only focus on their playing style, forgetting how we as South Africans prepare for games and our lifestyle,” explained Rooi.
Having coached at Vaal Professionals, Rooi says he would like to be an assistant coach in a league above the SAB League after completing his C licence.