Round and round the coaches go

2013-10-20 14:00

Barely three months into the new season, and the old trend of recycling coaches is already in full swing, writes Timothy Molobi

Rehiring and redeployment of coaches is synonymous with the domestic leagues.

So it did not come as a surprise when Clinton Larsen and Ernst Middendorp swapped positions at Bloemfontein Celtic and Maritzburg United this week.

But what impact does this have on the development of the game in the country?

Former multiple-league-winning coach Ted Dumitru says it is an abnormal situation that is a poor reflection on the local game and gives it a depressing image.

“By moving from one club to another in a cycling mode with always the same (stereotypical) game mentality, coaches cannot add any lasting improvement or value to their players and clubs,” said Dumitru, who has traversed the length and breadth of South African football.

He said it was hardly surprising that teams’ performances were fluctuating as the “current crop of Premier Soccer League (PSL) and National First Division coaches are highly inconsistent in maintaining or improving their teams’ performances from one season to another, or even within a season”.

Dumitru put the blame squarely at the feet of football authorities, saying there was no policy or ethics propagated by the PSL and the SA Football Association (Safa) to ensure respect and fairness towards the coaching profession.

“The division between the PSL and Safa on national policies regarding coaching standards, qualification, code of conduct and clubs’ obligations towards their coaches is having a devastating effect,” said Dumitru, who has been with Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Manning Rangers.

He added: “There aren’t young coaches who are being developed to challenge the current generation of professional coaches.

“In too many cases, there are clashes between the nature, the level and the experience of players and coaching philosophies, which are mostly imported from contrasting models.

“Club owners acting without proper club management to consult with and hire and fire coaches, out of gross technical ignorance, (results in them not) realising how damaging their decisions can be.

“In some cases, coaches are mistreated and eventually victimised without any protection. The current SA Football Coaches’ Association (Safca) has no recognition and authority to deal with this challenge. Neither has Safa.”

Safca president Greg Mashilo said there was a need for a coaches’ symposium to address some of the challenges they were facing.

Mashilo said once they have all the coaches under one umbrella, they would be able to debate their issues.

“Obviously, outside people will see it as a bad thing and we have not done enough to protect such situations, but I am confident we will address it,” said Mashilo, whose organisation has been in existence since 1992.

While this debate rages, so will the coaching merry-go-round continue.

PSL coaches – the spaghetti highway

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