Ex-Bafana player new head coach at Hout Bay

Former Bafana Bafana player, Ryan Botha, takes on new role as Hout Bay United first team head coach

Former Bafana Bafana player, Ryan Botha, takes on new role as Hout Bay United first team head coach. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Hout Bay United’s chief executive officer, Dali Fekenisi and new first team head coach, Ryan Botha. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Ryan Botha during a team talk with Hout Bay United’s under-16 team. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Technique, passion and flair, are some of the basics former professional soccer player, Ryan Botha, 40, plans to add in his new role as Hout Bay United Football Community’s first team coach this season.

Botha says his aim is to develop the ABC Motsepe League side into one of the biggest footballing communities in the country as he takes over from former head coach, Lebogang Ramatlotle.

The former Bafana Bafana forward played for several teams in the Premier Soccer League, including SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits, Moroka Swallows, Thanda Royal Zulu, Vasco Da Gama and Platinum Stars.

Originally from Durban, he studied at Glenwood House School, where he played rugby and other sports.

He played club soccer, which got him scouted by Manchester United in 1998. He spent three weeks in Manchester before returning to South Africa to join SuperSport in the 1999/2000 season.

He then joined Bidvest Wits, under the guidance of Roger De Sa. While at Wits, Jomo Sono borrowed him for a tournament in Italy.

Botha says the tournament was his gateway into European football. He played in Finland and Cyprus.

He was heavily influenced by the passion and techniques of Roger De Sa and Dutch former professional footballer and coach, René van Eck.

“As a player I always related to a coach who was very passionate and put their ego aside for the team,” he said.

Botha is doing his B-level in the Scottish FA alongside former SuperSport and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach, Rulani Mokwena, Vasili Manousakis of AmaZulu and SA under-23 coach David Notoane.

“I became a coach at 32 after 14 years as a player. I am giving back my knowledge of playing in Europe back to SA football. I understand the game and also the local flair. We can develop an infrastructure. Last season I was the under-16 coach and this season I am the first team coach in the Vodacom League.

“I am excited to get the opportunity with a team with the same strong passion towards football development in the country. We are building a community through a strong part of SA, football. We need this culture,” says Botha.

Currently staying in Century City, Botha also owns Ryda Siren Fitness Studio, a fitness club with his wife and multiple pole champion, Leda, in Zonnebloem where they offer weight loss, aerial, pole flexibility and stretching, yoga, boxing and other training sessions.

Dali Fekenisi, CEO and women’s team manager at the club, says Botha turned the under-16 team into a competitive squad in his three months as the coach last season.

“We were impressed with how he worked with the under-16 team. He managed to develop players who were almost released by the team. He turned them into competent and passionate players,” he said.

Fekenisi says Hout Bay United has players from different communities. For some coaches, it is a difficult task to build a team where everyone gels together, however, Botha, managed to do this at training and it was evident on the field of play.

“The players played for the team and not individually. His team talks; he is player-centred – he gives everyone a chance to speak. He is very disciplined, gives them a role and doesn’t take nonsense.

“We all agreed as management to give him a chance. His story was fascinating. We hope to give him all the support and assistance he needs as management,” said Fekenisi.