“You have to be a friend, father, life skills advisor and a coach,” says Ajax Cape Town coach, Roger de Sa.
This after being asked what makes a good coach.
Raised in a family where football was a common part of their daily lives, it is no wonder Roger is where he is today.
“I come from a football family, I grew up on the sports field,” Roger said.
With a father who was a goalkeeper for Sporting in Portugal, Roger seemed to follow quite easily in his footsteps.
Originally from Mozambique, his family moved to South Africa when Roger was 10-years-old, where he found himself playing for Twini Park in Durban. After that they moved to Johannesburg where Roger played for Benoni United in matric. Other teams he has also played for was Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns.
As he grew older, Roger found himself playing for Wits in his early 30s. It was here that he got his first big break as a soccer coach.
“I was only planning to play there for three years but then the coach left and they asked me to be the coach. I took over as a player coach and then decided to stop playing and coach,” Roger said.
“It was a swift transformation and I was fortunate that it happened so quickly” Roger continued.
Other teams Roger has managed have been Santos and Orlando Pirates, just before coming to Ajax Cape Town.
Being a football coach comes with a lot of pressure and high demands but Roger does not see it as being any different to any other job. He maintains that people forget that it is still a game.
With the high demands of his job he finds that his family keeps him grounded. He jokingly mentions that his wife still lets him pick up the dog poop in the yard. But one of his more memorable moments was when his team won. Text messages came pouring in and he was smothered accolades in. However, the text from his son seemed to stand out. He recalls being very touched that his son would text him until he opened it and read a message: “Dad, I need airtime”.
Staying true to his Portuguese roots he mentions that he and his wife still enjoy Bacalhau.
Looking to the future Roger plans to take things as they come and tends to think one or two seasons ahead.