Free State Stars appoint Sammy Troughton

Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Premier Soccer League side Free State Stars have appointed Northern Irish coach Sammy Troughton to lead them into the 2017-18 season.

Troughton takes over from Serame Letsoaka, whose departure was confirmed last week.

The 53-year-old Troughton, who had a spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers as a player, has lived in South Africa for the past 30 years and coached a number of teams.

This includes a brief spell with Orlando Pirates in the mid-1990s, and he's also spent time with the now defunct Mpumalanga Black Aces, University of Pretoria, and up until the end of last season, second-tier Stellenbosch FC.

He led Stellenbosch into the promotion playoffs, but parted ways with the club last week.

Troughton also worked previously as an assistant at Free State Stars, which was one of the reasons why the club appointed him as head coach, according to general manager Rantsi Mokoena.

"The club has decided to appoint Sammy purely because he has been with the club before, he knows the culture of the club," he told his club's website on Monday.

"We decided on a local coach [rather] than to go abroad as we have learnt our lesson with foreign coaches that we did not do well under them.

"He has done tremendously with previous clubs he has worked at. Whilst still at Tuks [University of Pretoria], they were very competitive, they were never relegated under him.

"He also took Stellenbosch to the playoffs and almost got them promoted to the Premiership. Another factor [is] he has worked with [assistant coach] 'Sly' Mosala and I am adamant that they will do well working together."

Stars avoided relegation by a single point in the 2016-17 season.