MAQSOOD Chenia, one of SA Football Association’s (Safa) long-serving youth coaches, has broken his silence about being overlooked for the national under-20 job. In May Safa confirmed Khabo Zondo as the new U-20 coach. Chenia (pictured), who had served as Amajita’s caretaker coach for almost year, said he was shocked and saddened by the decision. Speaking exclusively to Sports Focus, Chenia said he hoped he had done enough to get the nod from the federation. “I went the extra mile with the team, which I also served for a long time as assistant coach, under Serame Letsoaka.
“I was therefore shocked that I was overlooked when it mattered the most. I am sad but life goes on,” he said. Chenia added he will continue serving Safa “as a loyal soldier of football development”. If media reports earlier alleging a purge of officials from the Vaal by the new Safa management, then Chenia must feel like a classic example of the supposed purge – he is a Vereeniging-based businessman. In his motivation letter to Safa, when applying for the Amajita job, Chenia cited his uninterrupted nine years with the under-20 team, which gave him full enough experience in coaching and travelling internationally with the team. He also worked with Letsoaka at the previous FIFA U-20 World Cup finals, which was held in Egypt last September. Letsoaka is now Safa’s technical director, which means his input is crucial towards the appointment of national coaches, especially at development level.
“I understood Safa to be in favour of continuity. If that is the case, then I should have got that job. The new incumbent, Zondo, once served as the national under-23 before he embarked on a club career. Macky, as the soft-spoken Cheniar is also known, has served as an assistant to four national coaches since 2001. He started out with Aboebaker “Boebie” Solomon, before he serving under Steve “Koloi” Komphela who took over from Solomons. Chenia also assisted April “Styles” Phumo and lately Letsoaka. “I have learnt a lot from these great men to be able to be the head coach of anyone of the youth teams. I was never told about anything technically amiss about the seven month I spent as the caretaker head coach of Amajita.” His other success as an assistant coach include qualifying for the African Youth Championships in Burkina Faso in 2001 and winning the Cosafa Under-20 Challenge with Komphela in 2001. He won the Cosafa Challenge twice, in 2006 and 2008, with Letsoaka.
Chenia, as caretaker coach, guided Amajita to the final of the 2009 Cosafa Challenge, which they lost to Zambia. This year he won a four nations cup in the Vaal, which marked the Sharpeville Masaccre’s 50th anniversary.In April his team beat Brazil 3-2, during another four nations cup to mark the opening of the Green Point stadium in Cape Town. Other teams in the event were Nigeria and Ghana. “I am not giving up; my time will come one day,” concluded Chenia. Meanwhile, Zondo’s job with starts in earnest next month, when Amajita begin their 2011 African Youth Championships qualifications at the end of July. The tournament will be held in Libya in January. The four semifinalists in the African championships will qualify for the next FIFA Under-20 Youth World Cup, to be hosted by Colombia in 2011.