Coaches deserve more love

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
So Steve Komphela has emerged at Maritzburg United as their new coach.

He becomes the first coach to join a new club in the New Year following the sacking of Clinton Larsen in the festive season.

Speculation has gone into overdrive about Larsen’s next destination as coach.

My feelings on this silly coaches’ merry-go-round are well-documented, having even addressed the subject in a previous column.

Komphela’s appointment comes during the soccer silly season as the open transfer window period is upon us.

This is a time that also sees clubs go crazily after players, even paying highly inflated fees in a bid to achieve their goals.

You don’t have to look any further than the Absa Premiership log to see that some clubs will be trying to help their cause of winning the league, others to finish in the Top 8 bracket while others - such as Maritzburg - will be aiming at avoiding the dreaded relegation into the unfashionable National First Division.

That division is actually dying a slow and painful death unless something dramatic happens to save it, but that’s a subject for another day.

What usually gets my goat, is that even during this window period, some clubs have the temerity to sign players without discussing with their coaches.

But the flipside is that this is some of the disrespect that some of these coaches bring upon themselves. Clubs know that as soon as they get rid of their coach, there is already a queue at the door waiting to replace him. It does not matter how acrimonious or unfair the break-up was, the club is guaranteed that there will be yet another sucker waiting at the door to take over the abuse meted out by club bosses, some of whom are clueless when it comes to coaching.

All they say is “this is my club” and the coach has to swallow his pride, bear the brunt or risks to be shown the door.

I know the coaches have an organisation called the SA Football Coaches Association (SAFCA) but to be honest, I still have to see it bear its (hidden) fangs.

I can even bet that not too many people have heard of it. It is one of those organizations or structures that go into slumber land, only to wake up once there are South African Football Association (SAFA) elections around the corner.

This is because they are one of the associate members who have a vote at the elections.

The organisation was established way back in 1992, but if you asked me what they have achieved since then, my answer would be ZILCH!
So while this dead body snores, coaches continue to be kicked around like a football by uncaring and unperturbed club owners.

The ball is in our coaches’ court. They should start by taking themselves and their craft seriously. Very few of them - apart from men such as Gavin Hunt - use the off-season to go overseas for refresher courses to enhance and upgrade their knowledge of the game of the round ball.

Most are just too happy to stuff their faces with jelly, custard and all the goodies that are in abundance during the festive season. For this, you don’t have to look any further than their bulging waistlines.

It is an anomaly that in a country of more than 50 million people where football is the most popular sport, only a mere 100 coaches have a CAF Level A Coaching Licence.

We should be having more than that.

It is partly for this reason that our coaches get recycling like used goods and treated shabbily by clubs. For most of them, South Africa is the only country where they can be employed and nowhere else.

What a sorry lot!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
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