Pressing Issues: We could do with more humility, civility and maturity from coaches

2013-07-29 10:00

Soccer fans will once more get their dose of the masses’ opium as the 18th Premier Soccer League season gets under way on Wednesday.

It is at such times that one is reminded of a classic quote from the late April “Styles” Phumo.

Asked to predict where the league title would go at the end of the season while still in charge of Bloemfontein Celtic, the veteran coach quipped: “I will suggest the league just chops the trophy into 16 pieces at the beginning of each season, because every coach always vows they will win it.”

While this is a sign of confidence, it also borders on arrogance and undermined the other coaches.

Many a time, coaches are shown to be unrealistic, giving false hope to their bosses as well as their club’s many followers.

But what usually irks me and gets my goat to no end, is the lack of respect shown by coaches to others, mostly in postmatch interviews.

Case in point: Bafana Bafana mentor Gordon Igesund at the end of his charges’ match against Zambia in the Cosafa Challenge semifinal.

Instead of being humble and acknowledging defeat, Igesund said “the best team lost”.

This is a tired line used by coaches who find it very hard to accept defeat.

They blame everyone from match officials to the opposition.

It is seldom that you hear a coach saying that his team was outplayed and we are still to hear one admit his tactics did not work or backfired.

We’ve never heard a coach say: “The worst team lost today,” referring to his side, even on occasions when this is obvious.

However, they are quick to claim credit when things go their way.

In fact, many soccer coaches could learn a thing or two from top tennis players Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.

It has become a norm for this pair to open their victory acceptance speech by paying tribute to their vanquished opponents.

Rafa and Serena will always open their speeches by telling us how good the opponent was on the day, how they had dealt with all the shots “I played” and how they had to dig deep to overcome.

And then they will go into how much the victory means to them.

And you wonder why the pair boasts 110 career titles between them with Nadal holding 57 and Williams 53.

Why, some arrogant coaches have even been seen snubbing the traditional handshake with their opposite number or the match officials at the end of a match.

This is usually an indication that the bugger is not happy with the outcome.

They tend to forget that because soccer is a game of emotions this can easily incense the fickle lot called fans.

So as we prepare to be entertained by young and old players displaying their God-given talent, one appeals for more humility, civility and maturity from coaches.

Celebrate victory but also learn to accept defeat gracefully!

Here’s to a happy 2013/14 season and let the games begin!

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