They wear orange shirts, speak fancy English, toss jackets in the air and do all things possible to hog the spotlight but a careful look at the state of our football will tell you they are failing to do the one thing they are paid to do, and that is to coach players and turn them into world-class players.
The coaching merry go round that defines the PSL does not surprise me one bit because truth be told, most of those men who take our players through their paces everyday are not really clued up about the dynamics of coaching.
How else do you explain that the three (3) players I am about to discuss now are still making the same mistakes they were making when they first joined the paid ranks many years ago.
Robyn Johannes: here is a player that many touted as the next Lucas Radebe. Blessed with a football brain, the ability to remain cool under pressure as well as natural leadership abilities, Robyn’s career seemed destined for immeasurable heights. There was one problem with Johannes though- his uncontrollable love for the unnecessary back-pass to the goalkeeper which often resulted in goals for the opposition. Being the typical football fan, you are now probably waiting for examples. I will oblige and give them to you but will restrict myself to just two. Pirates v Chiefs, TKO final 2010/2011: Johannes plays a needless back pass to Mooneeb “Slimkat” Josephs, which the latter fails to deal with effectively leading to Sthembiso Ngcobo’s opener. History will tell you that Bucs went on to suffer a 3-0 humiliation at the hands of their bitter enemy.
Fast forward to a year later and this time it’s Robyn in the Golden Arrows strip playing against Bucs, ironically also in the TKO. After scoring a beautiful goal to put Arrows in the lead, Johannes then gives into his habit and plays an unnecessary back pass to his keeper which results in a Bucs goal. Now if the countless number of coaches he worked under were actually worth their suits and orange shirts, they would have spotted this minor niggle in his game and nipped it in the bud very early on and a great player would have been created in Robyn. #Sad.
Case study number 2: Andile “DC” Jali. His qualities are too many to list and are evident for all to see but he, like his “ma-se-kind” team-mate mentioned above has a weakness you see, one that has followed him from his Tukkies days. Now this one likes to dribble and give away possession in the wrong third half (as William Shongwe would say) of the field. You seriously want examples again? Fine, here it goes again. Bucs v Chiefs, league game. Jali has the ball and is alone at left back position; he hangs onto it until he gets dispossessed by Josta Dladla, then claims he was fouled. As you are aware, Calamine (JD) went on to cross for Shabba who finished comfortably putting Chiefs 2-0 ahead and sealing the game.
Take 2: Pirates playing against Libolo (mind out of the gutter please) in PE. Jali tries to dribble right in front of his own 18 area, loses the ball, Libolo scores, Bucs’ African adventure ends and so does Julio “footiboli” Leal’s stint as coach.
The third player I was going to discuss is Daine Klate but I have written extensively about this immensely talented individual who just refuses to play to his strength. Anyone who is interested to hear my views can refer to the archives of One Two Soccer (Open Letter to Daine Klate).
You are probably wondering what my point is again. Well, here it is: if our coaches were as good as people coaching at that level should be, they would have picked up the easily-rectifiable things mentioned above, used two or three sessions to root it out of the player/s and we would be sitting with world stars in our team. Yes, some may argue that no one can tell Jali anything but I still put it down to a lack of effort and ability on the side of the coaches.