Tso … I am terribly disappointed in you!

Tso … I am terribly disappointed in you!


Nobody need to tell you how much I admired you and still do. We’ve known each other heaven knows for how long.

And each time you have played a blinder or a leading role for Orlando Pirates, I have always waxed lyrical about your performance and leadership of that swashbuckling Buccaneers that also included Dukuduku Makhanya, the late Lesley Manyathela and Old John Mabizela to mention just a few, in the pages of the newspapers I’ve worked for.

I followed your career and continued to support you when you featured for Bafana Bafana at that ill-fated 2006 African Nations Cup tournament. I continued to bat for you when you received that opportunity to test yourself against Europe’s best at Alborg in Denmark.

In case you are wondering what, this is all about, relax Tso, you are in good company. Let me also add that when you returned from Europe, I never judged you but continued to support you when you shunned Orlando Pirates’ advances and joined Mamelodi Sundowns instead.

Even in your retirement, I have always felt that as South Africans we need to be proud about our legends and ensure they are accommodated into the bigger scheme of things, provided they (Legends) do not develop this sickening attitude of self-entitlement, but are prepared to soil their hands and get involved at grassroots level.

I do not know if you recall the conversation we once had, where you lamented the fact that local club bosses do not seem to think highly of former professional players and in fact, claimed they respected run-of-the-mill coaches from abroad than local coaches and I fully agreed with you.

At that tete-a-tete I also pointed out that local coaches must also refrain from expecting to be employed simply because they once played for Bafana Bafana. I said I would prefer them to empower themselves and to attend coaching refresher courses in order to equip themselves with global football trends like Pitso Mosimane and many others have done in recent years.

Now, you can imagine my utter shock and horror when I read an article today quoting you claiming that you do not believe that Mandla Ncikazi is not fit or better still, is not ready to coach Orlando Pirates because in your view, the job is “too big for him,” really Tso?

Please tell me you have been mis-quoted!

“Mandla Ncikazi is very good,” reads the story in The Citizen. “But I don’t think he should be appointed as head coach at Pirates. Let us not put pressure on him and say he must be head coach at Pirates, because we would be killing his reputation and career!

“Pirates is a big team and when you coach Pirates…I played for Pirates. I know the culture of the team. I know how things work at the club. If you are going to come and coach the team and you don’t know certain things, you will be out.”

You certainly could have knocked me down with a feather. I mean, I am trying to figure out here whether you are trying to build up and encourage a fellow former professional or there are underlying currents of malice driven by this pitiful “Bring me down syndrome!”

You say Mandla is not good enough to coach a “big team like Pirates” because he was coaching unknown teams and hasn’t been a head coach for four years. But tell me Tso, how do you expect him to grow and become a bigger and better coach if he is not given an opportunity at a big club that you are referring to?

Have you forgotten that you became a “top player” and earned a lucrative contract abroad, simply because people like Augusto Palacios believed in you and you were given an opportunity to showcase your talents at a big team like Pirates and so, why don’t you want others like Ncikazi to be also given chances at Pirates like you were also given a platform to perform?

I would understand if Ncikazi was still only 35 years old, but hell Tso, Ncikazi is 52 years old and has been an assistant for almost 20 years. If in your opinion he has not yet outgrown the deputy tag, when exactly do you expect him to be ready to fully take charge as head coach…? When his joints are creaking and he is 70 years old and ready for the dole queue?

Wake up Tso! Helman Mkhalele has taken charge of Bafana Bafana and defeated Uganda. Arthur Zwane took charge at a dithering Kaizer Chiefs in 12th position and not only led them into the top eight but qualified them for the CAF Champions League final.

Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena, Lehlohonolo Seema, Steve Komphela, John Maduka, Owen da Gama, so many coaches are raising their arms and batting for recognition in the local product Tso, let’s encourage them and not “pull them down!”

And if you feel that Ncikazi “needs to know certain things” in order to succeed at Pirates, are you honestly telling me that you are not prepared to uplift a fellow compatriot by wising him up regarding what he would need to do in order to succeed?

Let me just stop right here before I go too far Tso. I am aware that we live under a democratic society and everyone is entitled to their opinions but, you have not only let me down, I’m terribly disappointed.

Thomas Kwenaite aka TK

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