Free State Stars have confirmed the first coaching casualty in the Premier Soccer League this season, the club parting ways with Denis Lavagne and his assistant.
Stars released the following statement on Thursday:
Free State Stars regretfully announce the termination of head coach Denis Lavagne and assistant coach Phillip Ciccarini’s contracts with immediate effect.
Lavagne, who joined in the off-season as a replacement for Italian manager Giovanni Solinas, was tasked to lead the Bethlehem-based outfit under difficult circumstances during a turbulent time – with an impending takeover falling through at the last minute.
After the loss of key players and inadequate pre-season preparation, the French tactician failed to settle in with the club’s management and the rest of the squad.
General Manager Rantsi Mokoena admits the decision may seem a bit hasty, after only three league fixtures, but the board came to a unanimous decision that the club would have a greater chance of recovery with the early termination.
“Unfortunately we have had a relation breakdown with the coach – and his contract has been terminated with immediate effect,” Mokoena told the club’s official website.
“He has lost it in the dressing room, the morale and mood was terribly low, hence results were not coming. We have taken a tough decision on his termination of his contract.
“One might say it’s still early in the season to ‘fire’ a coach, but I strongly believe that we were not going to achieve anything with the coach, hence we had to take a drastic decision.
“Development coach Themba Sithole will be in charge of our next two matches, against Supersport United and Kaizer Chiefs, until we find a suitable candidate for the job.”