SAFA has kept the nation guessing on who the national soccer team’s next coach will be. Farcically, it’s a game the country’s soccer governing body is more adept at playing than registering success on the soccer field. How the majority of soccer fans wish it was the other way round!
Nevertheless, whoever the ‘lucky’ one will be – either Stephen Keshi, the Nigeria coach who gambled on unproven youngsters and qualified for the second round of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, or Dutch legend Frank Rijkaard who has an impeccable coaching pedigree – a mammoth task lies ahead. Just like their fondness for fast food’ instant ‘meals South African soccer fans are notorious for their proclivity for ‘instant success’. To them the word ‘Patience’ only exists in the Concise Oxford Dictionary.
1) Calculated risks – Don’t think that Einstein’s saying: ‘doing things the same way and expecting different results’ is now a cliché. There is a reason why a particular system does not yield results. Thus, there is no harm in jettisoning it. Of course, you will be pilloried but the proof of the cake will be in the eating. Eventually, when your ‘no-hopers’ upsets Germany in the 2018 World Cup in Russia you will instantly become the football equivalent of Madiba.
2) Independence – Be your own man. Don’t suck up to some power hungry administrator who likes throwing around his weight around to canvass for votes for the next Executive Committee election. You should not be told how to run the team. If he were capable enough, why wasn’t he made coach? Religiously stick to the terms of your contract.
3) Youth development – Stop the national abuse of the word ‘youngster” to refer to eternal 25 year olds who have been customers of Gillette shaving machines since Jomo Sono last played for Orlando Pirates. Instead, you should go to Cape Flats and to unearth a 12 year old next Benni Mc Carthy. Drop all late 20s and early 30s prima donnas who are intoxicated by the flattery they get from adulating sports scribes . Naturally, you will be called names by prejudiced fans of the ‘black and gold’, ‘Up the bucs’ or ‘Sky is the limit’ for dropping their favourite players. But you are not participating in a popularity contest. If you try to impress anyone, the very people who will sing your praises will turn around and stab you in the back. That’s the fickle nature of the game.
Heed this invaluable advice or else SAFA will let you suffer the consequences. Ask Clive Barker who after winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and qualifying for the World Cup was rewarded by an embarrassing dismissal. We are a nation that does not know what it wants at times.
Foretold is forewarned. Welcome aboard. Good luck!