Former Flames captain John Maduka is hoping for a dream start as Bloemfontein Celtic head coach by grabbing the Nedbank Cup in his debut match on Saturday at Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
The match will mark the restart of football after a four-month break following South Africa government’s lockdown due to Covid-19.
Maduka, who was appointed head coach following the departure of co-coach Lehlohonolo Seema, told Soccerladuma that he is unfazed by the task ahead of the Nedbank Cup final.
“I am looking forward to the challenging job. It’s not easy, but we will keep on working hard. It’s an opportunity I have been given and I am so humbled and I am taking it with both hands,” he was quoted as having said.
While confessing that his appointment was a shock, Maduka said he knew one day he would lead Siwelele as Celtic are fondly called.
He said: “Well, we didn’t know that my co-coach would be leaving. Things just happened and my co-coach had to leave, and these things happen in this industry of ours. It does not mean I will be here forever.
“One day someone will also come. Like I was once a captain at this club and today, years later, there’s someone else who is the captain of the team. Before me, there was another captain.
“When you are in coaching, it’s either they are going to bring in someone who will maybe be a co-coach with you, or you will take over.
“In this instance, it happened that they made me the head coach and brought in someone who can help out.”
Interestingly, in the Nedbank Cup final Maduka comes face to face with compatriots Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Jnr who turn out for Baroka FC.
Maduka, who was recently named among top five Malawian players to have played in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), retired from active football in 2009.
His first South African club was Umtata Bush Bucks, where he spent seven seasons as a key player, before moving to Zulu Royals (AmaZulu FC) following the former’s relegation from the PSL at the end of the 2002/03 campaign.
The former Silver Strikers forward spent one season with Royals and he was snapped up by Bloemfontein Celtic where he played an important role in helping the team clinch the 2008 SAA Supa 8 (MTN8) as team captain.