Coach needs to stop acting like a spoilt child

Coach needs to stop acting like a spoilt child

My son once asked me why I didn’t become a football coach seeing that in his view “I knew so much about the game”. I informed him the through the grace of God, I wanted to live longer, hence my decision never to get involved in the technical aspect of the game.

He did not know at that time what football coaches have to put up with. He wasn’t aware that coaches occupied the hottest seats in the land. I implored him to closely watch most of them and I explained that they signed lucrative contracts but if they did not get fired after six months, they start ageing.

The hair starts receding, they get grey along the temples and even the beard gets grey overnight. They suffer from insomnia, eating disorders, lose weight and to add salt to injury, have to endure unbelievable insults from supporters and at times have to duck a barrage of missiles hurled by the club’s followers.

I respect football coaches largely because they have to deal with supporters that comes to the stadium a little high from the forbidden herb or have imbibed the waters of immortality and their thinking capacity is slightly skewed when the game gets underway.

I respect coaches because, they are expected to win matches even though the players at times, like Mo Salah the other day, selfishly declined to pass the ball to Sadio Mane who was in a better position to score but had Liverpool lost the game, the supporters wouldn’t have blamed Salah, but would have cursed Jurgen Klopp and even hurling expletives about his mother’s anatomy.

Having said that, I totally disagree with Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp and the manner in which he dealt with the Khama Billiat issue. Middendorp’s views gave me the impression that Billiat was not supposed to have gone to Harare to represent his country Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifying match.

Zimbabwe had lost the first match 1-0 away to Somalia and it would have been lights out had they failed to get a positive result in the return leg. So, I guess Zimbabwe were within their rights to call Billiat to arms in the face of a mounting onslaught from Somali.

And Zimbabwe were justified in their decision because it was Billiat who not only played the full 90 minutes, but scored the winning goal that knocked the stuffing out of a determined Somalia and helped his country qualify for the group stages of the qualifiers.

But Middendorp was neither amused nor impressed. In his opinion, judging by his comments which appeared to give subtle hints that Billiat was in trouble for honoring a national call-up, the lithe winger will have to answer charges of why he honored a national call-up.

We all know it is every player’s dream to feature in the World Cup finals and I suppose Billiat is no exception. I suppose even Middendorp knows that a national association can call up a player, even if he is in Europe, to be assessed by national team doctors.

And if they feel the player is unfit, they will naturally declare him unfit, period. I hope Middendorp mends his relations with Billiat and stop behaving like a greenhorn and a boy still wet behind the ears and act like the father figure that he is before he loses the respect of his charges.

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