Pressing Issues: End the pain of a coach quickly

2014-10-19 15:00

I’m always fascinated by the narrators of the various wildlife television programmes.

One that tickled my fancy said: “As the herd of buffaloes makes its way to the river, the crocodile knows the sound they make is not thunder but a sign that dinner is about to be served.”

So it was when on October 3, Premier Soccer League club AmaZulu released a statement titled “Mugeyi in charge of AmaZulu in TKO match against Celtic”.

The beleaguered Craig Rosslee must have known exactly what that meant.

The statement went on to say that the club’s directors had taken this decision “due to poor run of form and safety concerns”.

Then came the killer line: “Craig Rosslee’s contract with AmaZulu remains in existence until a further decision has been reached.”

How creative can a club be?

If they were as inventive with their marketing, they would be filling the stadiums week in and week out.

This statement was followed by another seven days later under the heading, “Mugeyi still in charge of AmaZulu FC as ‘caretaker coach’”.

This statement told us that “the club directors have not reached a decision regarding the position of the head coach”.

“Until such a decision is made, the status quo will remain.

“Wilfred Mugeyi will remain as caretaker coach and carry out all the responsibilities of the head coach.

“The club will release a statement as soon as a decision is made on the matter. The directors are hoping to finalise this issue before the end of October 2014.”

Now anyone who has been involved with soccer for long enough knew from the date of the first statement that the club would be firing Rosslee.

Before all this, the coach had questioned why he had been made to shoulder all the blame for the team’s poor performance while players had got off scot-free.

But that’s an argument for another day.

And as sure as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, the long-awaited statement came on Wednesday.

In “AmaZulu part ways with Craig Rosslee”, we were informed that “the directors have agreed to relieve Craig Rosslee of the position of head coach with immediate effect.

“The decision was due to a poor run of form over the past couple of months.”

And then, as is usual in such a case, the club’s general manager, Peter O’Connor, was tasked with wishing Rosslee “well with his future plans”.

It is this indecisiveness and going around in circles when it’s time to make crucial decisions that remains a serious Achilles heel in South African football.

I mean, it’s clear as daylight that – by the time Usuthu had issued the first statement on October 10 – a decision had already been taken to fire Rosslee.

So why dilly-dally and put out up to three statements on the matter?

If there were still some contractual issues that needed to be ironed out between the two parties, then don’t issue a statement.

The way the statements were crafted made it seem as if Rosslee was being told to go to hell in such a way that he looked forward to the trip, as one wise individual once described diplomacy.

We know that clubs are quick to pull the trigger when things don’t go right.

We also know that football is a results-driven sport.

Coaches also know this and, I guess, they also expect to be fired when the results don’t go their way.

What I’m against are the methods that the clubs use – like the one highlighted here.

My sentiments are similar to those of, for example, an animal rights group that insists on a quick and painless method of slaughtering an animal.

To clubs I say: When you fire a coach, just pull the trigger and make the process as painless as possible.

After all, it’s a known fact that, just as death is an eventuality, so is the fact that football coaches will be fired.

AmaZulu are a big club. (Did I hear some murmurs and grumbling?)

But as long as they do things in this manner, people will continue to treat them like a spaza shop.

Even their dyed-in-the-wool followers will continue to stay away from their games – which will cause them to fail to even fill the tiny 12?000-seater Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.

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