Former Marumo Gallants coach Dan Malesela has emerged as the leading candidate to land the vacant Royal AM job.

Although coy about who will replace John Maduka, who has since joined crosstown rivals Maritzburg United in a surprise move, CEO Sinky Mnisi confirmed on Sports Night Amplified with Andile on Tuesday night that Royal AM would announce a new coach on 28 June when club president Shauwn Mkhize returns from Los Angeles.

Gallants opted against extending Malesela’s contract at the end of the season despite guiding them to safety in the DStv Premiership as well as qualifying for the CAF Confederation Cup after reaching the Nedbank Cup final last month, where they lost to Mamelodi Sundowns.

SABC Sport understands he could very well be on the Royal AM hot seat before the new season.

“‘Dan Dance’ is one of the best coaches in South Africa. But it will all depend, while we are still looking, whether we will be able to consider him. I spoke to his agent but not much [was discussed],” was all Mnisi would say when asked specifically about Malesela.

All indications are that the former Chippa United and TS Galaxy mentor fits the criteria.

“Royal AM must get onto the market to find a coach that understands the culture and brand of football that will fit, [someone] that knows football – and it must obviously be SA football.

“The other reasons why other people are complaining is that we bring a lot of foreign coaches and they have their own style, and the strength of SA players is not based on what they are playing.

“That’s why sometimes it’s a problem that the squad is struggling. But I am saying, you’ve got to get a coach that is experienced and has been there and seen it all.

“When you lose a person like Maduka, you must get somebody above Maduka – then you are serious about your business.”

Mnisi also shot down rumours that Owen Da Gama and Gavin Hunt were being considered for the role ahead of next season.

“Just to clear that – people have written in the media that we have approached Gavin Hunt, Owen Da Gama and, I think there was a third one. Let me be honest, we’ve never spoken to any of those coaches,” he said.

“We’ve never been interested. There have been coaches that have phoned, even from New York, who was here in SA, asking for the job.

“But at Royal AM, we need to headhunt, and there are those we interviewed. We don’t want helicopter football. We will announce a coach on 28 June. It will be a local coach.”

By Mazola Molefe

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