Monday, November 28, 2011

The Legend Hs Spoken: Busy Barry

"That is why this will be an ambitious undertaking but we believe in the partnership, and we are looking to start with under 13s and it is intended to have tours to play other youth developments and academies in South Africa and the neighbouring countries. To see development, we must be willing to sacrifice. It is not easy but you can see where football is going without any plans, development programs, coach education and so forth. Someone must honour up and come forward. We must stop complaining and act."

e-Diski: Hello BBza!

Barry: Eita Ndex, long time.

e-Diski: Sure it's been ages. Where are you based now?

Barry: I am here in Gaborone. It's ok here, everything is well.

e-Diski: Do you have any family?

Barry: Yes, but many people know my boys, Mayfield and Billy. They played for Highlanders and Railstars. I have my daughter who is in Johannesburg.

e-Diski: What are you doing here in Botswana?

Barry: I came here to coach Premier League teams from Notwane, to Francistown and here in Gaborone. I am currently working with a  youth development program. This was a team playing in the League but is shifting focus to development.

e-Diski: Wow, I know you work well with technical development, tell us more.

Barry: This is a well-funded and ambitious program for nurturing talent. It is a Happy Hearts Academy, more of what you were doing with KFA (Keutsepilemang Football Academy) at the ZITF.

e-Diski: Interesting Topie, but then, why are you not doing these programs in Zimbabwe?

 Barry: You know very well that it is a question of funding. Money needs to be put in good hands for the infrastructure, equipment and salaries for this to be a reality. My son, Mayfield, is ready to start with the programs if guys like you, Mafu (Bongani) and others came together and try to get resources. Then we can strategise and see the way forward. I have been in touch with Gibson Homela and a similar program will be underway in partnership with Happy Hearts.

 e-Diski: From my experience, promises for funding are everywhere, fulfilling them is another issue.

Barry: That is why this will be an ambitious undertaking but we believe in the partnership, and we are looking to start with under 13s and it is intended to have tours to play other youth developments and academies in South Africa and the neighbouring countries. To see development, we must be willing to sacrifice. It is not easy but you can see where football is going without any plans, development programs, coach education and so forth. Someone must honour up and come forward. We must stop complaining and act.

e-Diski: Is this inline with youth clubs of old?

Barry: The City Council built and organised youth centres for sports and cultural activities. There was money and people at those youth centres. Many players are a result of Tshaka Youth Centre in Makokoba even during our days. There was Thabiso Youth Centre and a lot others in Matshobane, Sizinda and so forth. It was like what Europeans call academies now. That is why we had great players. It will be hard to emulate that but we are hopeful of success.

e-Diski: Do you have any players you groomed from Makokoba who went to Tshaka Youth Centre?

Barry: There is plenty. All the players that graced Highlanders and represented the greater Bulawayo with pride and honour one way or another, came from these structures. They are a product of that system. Players like Makheyi Nyathi, Gift Lunga Senior, Adam Ndlovu, Nkululeko Dlodlo, and many others came from there.

e-Diski: Is this why Highlanders is struggling to produce that type of player today?

Barry: No one can say much about Bosso at the moment but I want to talk about the system that worked but was abandoned and the facilities are now white elephants. Stanley Square was home to all theatre and we saw great boxing matches there. It's all just good memories now.

e-Diski: When was your defining or breakthrough moment as a footballer?

Barry: I played in schools and the in the youth clubs that participated in BAFA leagues. I then played for Highlanders in 1965 at a difficult time before the team was promoted into the first Division. We played in Matshobana, Sizinda and all around the City of Bulawayo. That is why people always talk of Highlanders playing at Greenspan.

e-Diski: And then?

Barry: I went on to play for Wankie and promoted the team to the First Division and I won the 1973 Castle Cup while we were in the First Division.

e-Diski: But you came back to Bosso?

Barry: I came back to Bosso but the times were challenging and all the football in Rhodesia was in turmoil. In 1976, the RNFL (Rhodesia National Football League) championship had to be decided between Highlanders and Dynamos because they were equal on points. There were problems with money and politics.

e-Diski: Then you formed Olympics, why?

Barry: We wanted to play football despite all the problems we had. We formed Olympics where I was the first ever player-coach after undergoing coach training under experienced expatriates like Billy Asbury. That is the group that had the likes of Peter Nyama and Shepherd Murape.

e-Diski: Were your money problems solved by you rebelling and forming a splinter team?

Barry: We were sponsored by Archer by then and playing in the breakaway Southern Region Football League because of the unfairness of the mother body. So it was well for a moment until independence when the NRFL and SRFL came together to form the Super League. Only 10 teams from each region were permitted and Highlanders being in the Super League did not allow us to join as it would seem there is 2 Highlanders teams.

e-Diski: But then, who was Supersonic?

Barry: At a later time, Archer stopped their sponsorship and we were being bankrolled by Supersonic, that is all. It was just the same team but different sponsor. We had players like Boyce Malunga, Marko, Itai, and the like.

e-Diski: What was your memorable moment?

Barry: I won the Castle Cup with Wankie while in the First Division, and the formation of Olympics in 1976 becoming the first player coach. There are many.

e-Diski: A really decorated coaching career as well....

Barry: Yes, like coaching Highlanders, the national team and national Under 23. I coached Railstars, won the All Africa Games silver with Wieslow Grabowski in 1995. It has been a satisfying football journey for me.

e-Diski: What was the regrettable moment?

Barry: One can not live a life of regrets, no matter the mistakes you may make. I have always tried to be very positive and learn from the wrong decisions I have made. Otherwise, I could not be where I am. There are so many things I could have done differently but I have enjoyed reasonable success as a player and a coach.

e-Diski: Who was your best coach to work with?

Barry: A lot of fantastic guys. I worked with Roy Barretto, Rahman Gumbo, Cosmas Tsano Zulu and yourself. You were all different. Tsano was a physical condition specialist, Roy came from a different background and was a motivator, while Rahman had his playing experience. You came in with some useful analytic and statistic approach that made us play a lot easier against other teams. So it has always been learning from everyone and getting to use each other's experience.

e-Diski: Hahaha, you can say that because I am interviewing you hahaha.

Barry: Serious Ndex. I was sceptical myself when I started working with you. I knew you trained with us as a goalkeeper and I heard how you worked the previous years with Ernest Mpala and Max Shaluza Tshuma. When we sat down and you had all the data about the games you played, I started to think that I must take you a little serious. By the time we started the season with that Railstars team, I knew where we were going and everyone knows we could have gone nowhere without you. That is why I recommended you for positions with the mother body.

e-Diski: Thanks Topie, I am flattered and it's not everyday I get that from someone like you.

Barry: The truth is that coaches like myself, Gibson Homela, Mick Pool, Peter Nyama, Sunday Marimo and the like, have been in this game for a long time. You guys along with Mhlauri (Charles), Mafu (Bongani) and the late Benjamin Moyo were supposed to be the next generation of great coaches. It is still possible even at this moment for you guys to rise again.

e-Diski: What do you think of the game today?

Barry: The game has become scientific. While it is an art, it is now philosophical. Usually, people say PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT, which is wrong. PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT and it becomes permanent damage if done wrongly. This is why I think youth programs must be revisited like when we had youth clubs. At this rate football is going down but there is hope. We have the material....

e-Diski: in players?

Barry: ... yes, we have human resources and the facilities. All that is needed is the money. People must remember that as coaches we have families to feed. That is why we are here. Youth developmental programs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are the back-born of World champions, Spain. If you invest in the game, you will not go wrong.

e-Diski: What music do you listen to?

Barry: Cool Crooners

e-Diski: Hahaha, I think you also sang in that group?

Barry: Yes, but part-time. They are my good friends together with Kembo who people know from Lever Brothers TV commercials.

e-Diski: May you please sing me one line from any of their songs?

Barry: I can not sing anymore, my voice is hoarse and all I do is football now.

e-Diski: It's not like I will record and cut a CD. Maybe I can and then we can go and live in Hollywood, haha.

Barry: Doing what, Charlie Chaplin? Ok, (singing'Abantwana bayalamba kweminyi mizi, kodwa endlini kugcwelu fanishaaaaa! Abantwana bayalamba kweminyi mizi. Badlaa ipapa nobhiyaaaa!' (Children are hungry while the homes have good furniture. They eat porridge mixed with beer).

e-Diski: Hahahaha... You played with talent. Let's remix this one and we will be rich! BBza, thanks for your valuable time and for catching up once again. All the best in your endeavours.

Barry: It was my pleasure Ndex, anytime. Just think about what I was saying and let's keep in touch guys.

e-Diski: Sure, I am what I am in football because of the experience I gained working with you. God bless.

The story of Barry Daka is unending. It is as huge and long as the story of Highlanders Football Club. The man is full of knowledge and passion of the game. For his generation, Barry is miles ahead in terms of documenting his plans and implementing the plans. He reads books and believes in football modernisation than many who even came later than him in football. He commits to the game fully and his good sense of humour and great respect for others is a cut of the highest order. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Orlando Pirates struggling no end

The problems of Orlando Pirates are way too much for Happy People to swallow. Pirates have won just 4 league matches out of the 11 played so far. For a team that swept everything the previous season and started this particular one on fire, Julio Cesar Leal's Bucs is, at minimum, heartbreaking.

The pressure is on the Brazilian mentor to please his even pressurised paymaster, Irvin Khoza. Khoza decided to get the South American after a good job by Rudi Krol who could not renew his contract after it ended in 2011. While it was a huge surprise to many people, this is exactly why he did not . After reaching the roof, there is much room up. This is not an excuse to fans, as total and perennial dominance as is the case in Spain by Barcelona or the Barclays Premier League's Manchester United. 

I have a problem with the general idea of the owners of Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, that only foreign coaches can handle them. This man-made phenomenon is crazily untrue but it is quickly rubbing into players with amazing strength of steel cement. While you may be thinking why then, Leal being foreign, the Sea Robbers are sinking. 

It is the same reason why the other teams are not really worth their salt given the rated mentors from abroad. They have to adjust to the culture shock while hemorrhaging points. This sounds contradictory to the Pirates' last season success. Pound for pound, the Bucs ha the best squad for many years, even the year they lost the league title by the last kick of the season. I must admit that Krol was both an exception and very lucky.

As with all coaches from abroad, South Africa has only managed to attract second-rate coaches from unknown leagues and unemployable elsewhere. This became the pride of Chiefs and Pirates. To prove my point, almost all coaches that have been brought here by these teams have won nothing elsewhere and they remain in South Africa permanently.

As for Leal, I personally know the man. He has great work ethics and loves details. He is a strong believer of detail and leaves no room for chances. His patience with mediocrity are his weakness, but in a normal environment, that is an enviable quality.  

The way Pirates are disjointed in their play, there is little doubt that there is no harmony among teammates and with the technical department. Either there is sabotage on the part of the players to have Khoza change the coach, or on the part of the technical department to succeed Leal. It may be that the leadership also found someone they like that they abandon the trust vested on Leal.

Whatever the reason, the Happy People are not happy, not only that, but also given the Happy Jele injury will be with us for the next 6 to 9 months. Jele came to the party with goals when strikers ran out of ideas. Besides, it is amazing that the whole league does not enjoy any true goal scorers and that extrapolate to Bafana Bafana. The lack of goal scorers for Pirates has frustrated the midfield mould and the patience is running out in the team's engine room. 

I have no doubt there will be success in the Telkom Cup encounter as it is more of a money game for players, but then in the league, the problems may be far from over. With the Africa Champions League still to come, it remains to be seen how long Leal will keep his job, but this is one man who may not be attracted to stay in the country after his fruitless stay at Pirates despite having been at Swallows and Amazulu before.

My verdict is that Julio Cesar Leal will not see his contract through despite a clause that binds the parties in the event that the coach wins at least one trophy, which Leal has managed with the MTN 8 Cup. That means, he will gladly leave when asked, and that will involve a golden handshake, or is it platinum?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Racism in football

There are times we just to have to let go of simple and usually unnecessarily sensationalised issues and I tried. I have been trying to do exactly that about the racism issues that ended up with FIFA PresidentSepp Blatter, misspeaking. He is said to have said there is no racism in football and that racism can be settled by a handshake. He has since apoogised and lately declared the whole issue closed.

Generally, racism probably started as a genuine belief that blacks lack or have something whites have or lack. After centuries of proof that blacks are better at other things than whites, be it at random kind of patterns across any given spectrum or specific tasks, the idea that the perpetrators still use racial slurs in this day and age, actually shows that those who carry out acts and say these words, are just worse off than once thought.

Going back in time, Pele of Brazil, a black man from the slams of Rio de Janeiro, dominated the world football in an era when political racism was in fashion the world over. To assume he did not see or hear anything of the sort we see today would be a big lie. Eusebio might have been in a worse situation than Pele, given he outdid the Brazilian on several occasions and had African roots. Even at that, a statue was made in his honour in Portugal by white people who appreciated his talent regardless of race.

John Terry and Luis Suarez resorted to verbal abuse after failing to match the blacks for skill, and that is appalling. As many have already alluded, these are not isolated cases, but for the sake of progress, they have not been reported by the victims. If under the pressure of performance such utterances come forth, it is usually a case of a pressured cooker that gets cracked and burst. It comes all the way from home. You can be assured their children have that attitude too.

One thing for sure, no matter how much the black players do not believe they are inferior, or how much the white players do not actually believe it is their skin that makes them pass the ball better, mark their opponents well or score more goals, the bottom line is that as an insult, it will justifiably draw the biggest ire from all normal beings, black and white. It is as bad an insult as the one where one mentioned your mother.

I think of this as the line of thought of Sepp Blatter - to say that it is not a football phenomenon. It is there as a life problem. To compound to his woes, Sepp further miscommunicated by making another general comment about racism being 'treated' by a handshake. For all of us who are not opportunists, even if the whole sentence read like 'Racism can be solved by a handshake', of which it was not what he said, we would know that something is wrong, either in the words or in the meaning.

However, the English had the agenda and they feasted on that meal. After the slurs by Luis Suarez and John Terry, the FA were supposed to put their house in order before hypocritically making a 'misspoken' comment by Blatter. The way John Terry is defending is not even helping insulting any black player, no matter how small or dark that man is. God is not stupid and Suarez will be eating his pie soon, despite having scored 4 goals for Uruguay after his verbal antics.

Let us leave Blatter and talk the talk for a while. Racism is everywhere and rife in life. In other parts of the world, it is due to pure stupidity and one can no longer use the excuse of ignorance to be racist. In South Africa and other bits of the developing world, it is a political tool. Unfortunately, in most of the world, it can not be talked about or discussed openly. Usually, issues around that are sugar-coated and the whole story is artificially sweetened. Of the ignorant misinformed of the developed world, racism is words. Saying the words like 'black, nigger, kaffir and monkey is what they call racism.

This can't be further away from the truth. Racism is the idea, the (mis)understanding, the (mis)conception that whites are superior to blacks. Good works by blacks is chance and good work by whites is world order. It is only one way. There is a far-fetched South African idea that a black man can be racist. This caught up quickly in the west. There was never, and there will never be a situation where blacks think they are the superior race and therefore entitled to everything or that white are stupid because of their colour. They only fight to be equal, to be thought of as equals. Sadly, I have been in situations where after confronting a racist, the first response is; 'What did I say?' Again, it is not what you say, it is what you believe and unfortunately that translates to words when the situations turn ugly.

It is unfortunate that where black players excel and outwit the white counterparts, for the sake of the grave agitation emanating from such utterance, that the bad athlete resorts to insults. I genuinely think that those who chant and throw bananas at the stadia, know that blacks are not monkeys. They know blacks are gifted, able and complete to compete and excel. To gain the unfair advantage, they stoop so low to make up for their lack of talent and prowess. 

To kick out such habits from stupid players and officials will be as hard as trying to deal with swearing. I know of one basketball team that have made strides to have a swear-free environment. The next thing will be trying to have a racist-free environment. Let us go back to John Terry. How many blacks play with him at Chelsea? They got to their best levels in years due to the African connection of Didier DrogbaMichael Essien and many more others. If he really said what he said and meant it, what does it say to his black team mates? At the end of the day, for whatever reason, using race as a tool to bring a black brother down instead of outwitting them with integrity and skill, should never be allowed.

It is so unfortunate that the English FA did not do enough to deal with the Suarez and Terry issue, allowing the later to captain the national team under a cloud that is being inefficiently investigated. Calling for Blatter to resign while they sit in the boardroom is extremely hypocritical. Terry is still playing today and unless we say the complainant is a liar, the seriousness of allegations merits that high level attention and at best, the FA are sweeping the issue under the carpet, solving 'racism by a handshake'.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Legend Has Spoken: The Great Gumiso

"l think it was immaturity from both the players and technical stuff. Leading by 3-0 on the first leg l think we were supposed to go and defend for the whole match. It was going to be possible considering the quality of players who were there then, though they say the best way of defending is to attack. We lost tactically, l see so."

e-Diski: Eta Mr Gumiso, long time..

Gumiso: Ndeipi (What's up)

e-Diski: Grand and thanks. So you are here in SA, what are you doing?

Gumiso: I am currently working for a Toyota agent and I am enjoying it.

e-Diski: What about football?

Gumiso: Hahaha, it is in my blood, so I am doing some soccer coaching and managerial courses.

e-Diski: Do you have a family?

Gumiso: Yes of course. l am married to Patience Chimoyo and we have 2 daughters Nina who is 8 and Owami now 3.

e-Diski: Oh cool. So during your playing days what was your nickname?

Gumiso: Tjoo, I have plenty bru but I guess Gumi Gumi comes first and that is what a lot of people called      me and they will easily remember that one.

e-Diski: How did you get it?

Gumiso: I guess like many of them, I can't really say but I think this one just came from my surname, Gumiso. As youngsters we always tried to have short-cuts to our names or something.

e-Diski: As a footballer of note, when can you say was your defining or breakthrough moment?

Gumiso: Signing for Highlanders Football Club was the moment I will not forget. Playing for Bosso shaped me into a better footballer than I thought I was.

e-Diski: How?

Gumiso: You know bru Highlanders supporters. If you play for them they own you and make you feel you own the world. So anything is possible when you play well, that's the way it is with Bosso.

e-Diski: Where were you and what were you doing before then?

Gumiso: When l signed for Tshilas in 1998, I was basically in Mutare where I played for Mutare United and then Gweru United.

e-Diski: Was it where you started your football career?

Gumiso: No, l started with City Vellos Juniors in Mutare of course, as well as Tanganda Juniors.

e-Diski: What was your memorable football moment?

Gumiso: Winning my first championship with Bosso and I will never forget the moment and the great team we had. We went on to win 4 times in a row including many many trophies.

e-Diski: I can only talk of 2 trophies against Dembare and that's enough for me, hahaha.

Gumiso: Hahaha, it was unfortunate that you came a little late and left a little early.

e-Diski: What was the regrettable moment?

Gumiso: When we lost to Sable De Batie of Cameroun in Cameroun. That was very painful and regrettable. If we had won we were going to play in the mini league of the African Champions League.

e-Diski: What actually happened and why did you think Bosso lost that match?

Gumiso: l think it was immaturity from both the players and technical stuff. Leading by 3-0 on the first leg l think we were supposed to go and defend for the whole match. It was going to be possible considering the quality of players who were there then, though they say the best way of defending is to attack. We lost tactically l see so.

e-Diski: We believe the best way to defend is just to defend and the best way to attack is just that; attack. Who was your best teammate to play with?

Gumiso: A number of them as you know that team well. It was a complete unit and everyone contributed and sacrificed for the each other, for the coach and the fans.

e-Diski: Baba, I want to put you on the spot and say give me a name, just one name.

Gumiso: For me Gift Lunga Junior come out tops somehow because of the personal level understanding. We always lifted each other up when one is down.

e-Diski: Thebe was a fantastic footballer of course. Who was your toughest opponent?

Gumiso: Joe Mugabe. He was much older than me, more experienced and clever. l could mark out Joe for the entire match but he would somehow sneak in to head a goal home.

e-Diski: Who inspires you?

Gumiso: Before, it was my young brother John, the late former Zimbabwe under 23 captain lan Matondo of the then Tanganda F.C as well as  Anthony Masunde of Tanganda.

e-Diski: And then?

Gumiso: During my playing days it was coach Rahman Gumbo. He gave me all the advice, confidence and guidance you might think of when l joined Bosso as an unknown from Mutare. He is my mentor.
e-Diski: What do you think of the game today?

Gumiso: Soccer going down in the field of play, administration, sponsorship, it's so bad. Club level is bad baba, but l think Norman Mapeza the national team coach is doing his best to assemble a good squad for the nation. thumbs up Nomara!

e-Diski: What about talent, is it not responsible?

Gumiso: l get frustrated when l think of the talent produced by, say, my home town of Mutare. Look at the list; Blessing Gumiso, the late Blessing Makunike, Lazaraus Muhoni, Eddie Dube, Eddie Nyika, the late Amon Chimbalanga, Taurai Makukutu, Joseph Kabwe, Willard Katsande, Onismo Bhasera, Washington Arubu, Wonder Sithole, Chipo Tsodzo, Saprin Muchabaya, Nelson Bandura the list is endless but we don't have a strong consistent team in the PSL. It makes me sick, mara why?

e-Diski: Racism - hot topic lately, what are opinions on racism?

Gumiso: Racism is too much in football and not all players report these incidents. It can be reduced but not completely eradicated. It's like music piracy. We will never win it totally, but reduced a big YES.

e-Diski: Which is the best football team at the moment?

Gumiso: In Zim, l think Dembare (Dynamos) and (FC) Platinum.

e-Diski: Abroad?

Gumiso: I am a Chelsea supporter and I think they are doing well.

e-Diski: Who is the best player?

Gumiso: Ha ha ha, it's Graham Ncube of Bosso and Desmond Maringwa of Dembare with Murape Murape not far off. I must say Carlos Tevez of City is my favourite international player.

e-Diski: What? Why Tevez?

Gumiso: I just like him. I am a big fan of Paul Ince, though he retired.

e-Diski: Hahaha, you reminded me of that guy when you played. What is the future of Gumiso?

Gumiso: I will coach or manage a team. Before coming to Mzansi l coached a Division 2 team in Skies (Bulawayo), Select Stars. When l took over the team, it was in position 13 and come end of year, l took it to position 3. Watch the space, l am a future Jose Mourinho.

e-Diski: Hahaha, good luck on that one but that is very interesting. So what music do you listen to?

Gumiso: Splash, Thomas Mkanya Mapfumo, Zola, Mandoza and Soul Brothers.

e-Diski: And your favourite movie?

Gumiso: All time movie, The Negotiator starring S.L Jackson.

e-Diski: That's a great movie but Maguma Guma, thanks very much for sparring your time to chat. Keep in touch and God bless you

Gumiso: One love mwana vamai.

A very unassuming midfielder in his days who took a long time to get into the hearts of Bosso fans largely due to his straight forward football. As soon as his destroying qualities were fully blossomed after settling down from Mutare, he was a darling of the crowd. His ball winning skills and timing were exceptional. His marking and clean tackling will always be a memory to the Tshilamoya die hards. He scored a few but quality goals. Strong character who always came in for advise and ways to improve his game. A holding player of note indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warriors take Bafana to the cleaners

Head coach pitso Mosimane said his young side could be forgiven after South Africa went down 2-1 in an international friendly against Zimbabwe in Harare on Tuesday night.

"I am obviously disappointed with the result, but I believe the boys gave a good account of themselves," Mosimane said after the squad returned on Wednesday morning.

"Most of them haven't played together before in the national team."

Mosimane said Bafana Bafana's performance in their last game of the year had given him confidence ahead of the new season.

"I now know what we need to work on going forward," he said.

"It was a good exercise to test these players, to know what we have when [Steven] Pienaar, [Siphiwe] Tshabalala, [Katlego] Mphela and others are not here."

Bradley Grobler, on of two new caps in the team, which was missing most of its senior members, scored in the first half to give the visitors the early lead.

Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona struck back with a brace in the second half as the hosts snatched victory, but Grobler was pleased with Bafana's performance.

"It was a dream come true for me to walk on the field to play for my country, and scoring a goal was the cherry on top," Grobler said.

"This is something I will cherish for a long time to come.

"Before the match the coach was encouraging us that we have to do our best, and I believe we did, despite losing to Zimbabwe."


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Legend Has Spoken; My man McKop

"In my days the toughest opponents I faced were too many and we had true legends that played diski so to single out only one would be doing a disservice to all the greats of Zimbabwean football, but I'll mention a few. Shackman Tauro, Stanley Ndunduma, Stanford Stix Mtizwa, Lloyd Katswere, Joel Jubilee Shambo, Friday Amayenge Phiri, Moses Chunga, Sunday and Misheck Marimo, Majid and Hamid Dhana, Charlie Jones, Joseph Zulu, Ephert Lungu and Max 'Shaluza Max' Tshuma."

e-Diski caught up with yet another great and humble goalkeeper of all time with such a passionate love of the game and his family, Pernell Makhiwa McKop.

e-Diski: Pee my friend, long time. How are you?

McKop: Hello Ndex, thanks for contacting me.

e-Diski: It is my pleasure my man, to have a true legend of the game talking to us.

McKop: Just to clear up one item though, I don't consider myself a legend. I am just someone lucky enough to have played with and against some of Zimbabwe's greatest players after our Independence.

e-Diski: So, where do you live?

McKop: I am currently in South Africa, here in Cape Town.

e-Diski: Do you have any family?

McKop: I do have a lovely family. I have 3 children, my son Jodene 21 is a Goalkeeper (e-Diski intejecting - 'like yourself - I remember him being a trainee at KFA ), of course hahaha, and my 2 beautiful daughters, Shanice 17 and Chelsey 6. Lets not forget my adorable wife Zelda. We married for 24 years now.

e-Diski: What was your favourite nickname?

McKop: When played back home in Zimbabwe the Highlanders fans gave me the nickname Makhiwa.

e-Diski: How did you get it?

McKop: This was started by Willard Mashinkila Khumalo and Madinda Ndlovu,when we were in the Young Warriors together and it stuck and eventually spread.

e-Diski: What are you doing now?

McKop: Well, I'm a Specialist Goalkeeper Coach and have been coaching in the South African Premeire League and First Division for the last 7 years. I've worked for a number of Clubs such as Santos, Free State Stars, FCAK, Bay United and Maritzburg United. I've just parted ways with Mritzburg United and I now have my own business called Just4Keepers Cape Town. It is an International Goalkeeping School that is based in 12 countries World Wide. It involves coaching and developing young keepers.

e-Diski: Wow, that's interesting. When was your defining or breakthrough moment?

McKop: I played for a team called Cosmos in the Second Division and we played against Highlanders in a ZIFA Quater Final match at Barbourfields Stadium and the crowd that day came hoping for a massacre.

e-Diski: How old were you then Pee?

McKop I was still 15 years old but we really played well and even though we lost 2-1 on that day, I had a great afternoon. Bosso had Mark Watson, who scored the winner, Tymon Mabaleka, Earnest Sibanda, Peter Nkomo playing on that day. After the match, Malcolm King told me, " Mfana you must come and play for Highlanders". From that day on, I knew that one day I'd be a Bosso player.

e-Diski: Tjooo, even more experienced goalkeepers would never want to face that firepower. What was the regrettable moment?

McKop: My regrettable moment was the day I had to retire from football at the age of 22. I had just left Saints and gone back to Highlanders and learnt that an old back injury I picked up playing for (Zimbabwe) Saints needed to be operated on, or else I would end up in a wheelchair.

e-Diski: How did you hear about that, who broke the bad news to you?

McKop Dr. Vic Naik, who was the Highlanders Physio broke the news to me and I thought it was the end of the world but not realising it then, God put my life on a new path and this is why I am doing what I'm doing today. I don't live my life on regret and always look on the positive side of all disappointment.

e-Diski: That was sad to many fans of yours because you had Bulawayo fans and not just Saints or Bosso. Who was your toughest opponent to play against?

McKop: In my days the toughest opponents I faced were too many and we had true legends that played diski so to single out only one would be doing a disservice to all the greats of Zimbabwean football, but I'll mention a few. Shackman Tauro, Stanley Ndunduma, Stanford Stix Mtizwa, Lloyd Katswere, Joel Jubilee Shambo, Friday Amayenge Phiri, Moses Chunga, Sunday and Misheck Marimo, Majid and Hamid Dhana, Charlie Jones, Joseph Zulu, Ephert Lungu and Max Tshuma.

e-Diski: Don't forget Tanny Bnda and Boy Ndlovu while they were still at Eagles.

McKop Like I said, there were just too many great players back then and they all in their own way were very dangerous.

e-Diski: Which teams did you play for?

McKop: I played for Arcadia Karls, Eagles, Highlanders and Saints.

e-Diski: Your favourite team-mates?

McKop Frankly, all my team mates were brilliant, with their own strengths and weaknesses and they complemented each other well enough to make great teams.

e-Diski: What do you think of football today?

McKop I can not comment on the football today in Zimbabwe, because i have not been home for almost 5 years, but looking at the talent that finds it's way into South African Clubs, it looks as though there is still some very talented players coming through.

e-Diski: Which team do you support?

McKop: As for the teams I am obviously still a very big Bosso and Saints fan. I love both clubs and I am a member of both of their Fan pages on Facebook and I keep up with all the latest news of both Clubs.

e-Diski: Which team do you think is the best in the world right now?

McKop: Ndex, the best team in world football today has to be Barcelona. They are incredible and have taken football to another level, actually it's fantasy football.

e-Diski: And the best footballer?

McKop: As for the greatest player today, everyone would say Messi and yes he is an unbelievable player but only at club level. He is unable to produce that form at the highest level when playing for Argentina, and lets not forget about Ronaldo brother, an exceptional player at club level. In my opinion Messi has another dimension to his game that Ronaldo doesn't have. But the greatest player for me is Iniesta for Barcelona and Spain, he makes things tick for both Club And Country. A very unassuming player but everything goes through him at both Club and Country.

e-Diski: What do you think about football in general?

McKop: Football is and has always been my passion and it's a great part of my life.

e-Diski: What music do you listen to?

McKop I love all types of music and genres, Soul, Jazz, Old School, Gospel, all of it satisfies me.

e-Diski: Which is your favourite movie?

McKop: My favourite movie, again too many to mention from action to drama, romance and Sci Fi, I enjoy them all.

e-Diski: Thanks Pee for connecting with us and hope we chat again soon. God bless you and family.

McKop Anytime my man and the pleasure was mine Tse Ndex, you keep well and pass on my warmest regards to the Soweto and Mpilo end stands at BF.

Pernell McKop was such an agile goalkeeper and for his supersized frame, he had tremendous reflexes and acrobatics and it was so sad that his career did not reach its potential but for those who saw him play, he was such a darling. I think I remember Pee playing against for Saints against Bosso suffering all verbal abuse because of his point blank saves and then coming to play for Highlanders the very next weekend and being the crowd favourite. There were no transfer windows then. What a guy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to become a coach

One is only considered a coach after successful completion of training provided by a competent trainer provided by FIFA, CAF or other confederations, football associations or the structures under their auspices. An example of structures that can provide training is the Olympic Solidarity Committee, but still, it is basically a FIFA program. Let us start from the beginning. Entry requirements will differ from association to association, but for beginners' courses, anyone can enroll. Normally, you need to know how to read and write. Your playing history counts for nothing. I must say to many association and their Premier Leagues, coaches education ranks last and is never a requirement to be employed in that capacity.

You may be required to pay fees depending on the association. Where there is a coaches association, they are responsible for organising the course, i.e. dates and venues. They will be responsible for providing instructors. The fees you pay go towards venue rental, paying the instructor’s fees, transport, food accommodation and entertainment, course material as in photocopying, hand-outs, administration and that association has to make profit for its general operations.

The coaches association will advertise, which is another expense, and get all participants names and their payments. Courses are usually rated from Level 1 to Level 4, where Level 1 is entry-level. Some, as it was in earlier days, will have Preparatory/Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced Levels. As an entry-level coach, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate basic technique to players.

The time frame ranges from 7 to 14 days from Level 1 up. Prices differ from association to association, course to course and from time to time. You will be required to write an examination at the end of each course and do a practical which are divided into two parts; your own performance of a certain technique as you would demonstrate to your team and the actual coaching of a group of players. These players can be your course mates or a group of players provided by course coordinators. Here you will be tested for your understanding of the subject, ability to handle players, organisation, time keeping and the like.

In the theory examination, you will be tested on the whole course material. It is imperative that you get tested on the Laws of the Game. This will usually be done by a referees’ instructor who will give you a test which referees do. At this level, the material may be level-friendly and the marking a little generous. It becomes serious business when you do higher levels. At higher levels, failing the Laws of the Game will cost you a certificate.

A lot of these will depend on the standards of the examining authorities and all this information is very general. Basic first aid and sports medicine are part of the curriculum from Level 1. A qualified Sports Medicine doctor will teach and examine trainees on the subject.

Level 1 will basically cover the proper football language like is defining technique, tactics, skill, conditioning and demonstration of these. It will cover basic performance of these and how to coach them. Higher levels will require advanced knowledge of the human biology like the locomotor systems, dietary needs and respiration as well as human behaviour.

Level 2 is a more serious result oriented program that may take as much time but more detail about planning training sessions and handling players is emphasised. There is a shift to physical conditioning and detailed technique training.

Level 3 is longer, harder and more demanding mentally and physically. Tactics are the leading topic as well as conditioning. Match analysis and game observation are top of the agenda. Sometimes student coaches will be required to go to matches with specific tasks to do and look out for and given assignments and home works. They may be required to do a class presentation.

At level 4, there may be a requirement that you have access to coaching 11 versus 11 teams as you will be given assignments and be required to give feedback from time to time and an instructor will visit you several times before you get certificated. Theoretically, technique, tactics, physical conditioning, dressing room management, data collection and Laws of the Game become very important.

You may be asked to do the football business side and marketing. At all levels, psychology is taught, starting very basic and becoming extremely important at Level 4. Sometimes there is a requirement to do media relations. There are a lot of other important things to learn and depending on the available instructors and personnel, the order of importance of topics may vary.

I must say that many football associations allow the existence and operation of a football coaches association. According to FIFA, only the football association is answerable for the game and its structures as the custodians of the game. It is then up to coaches to organise themselves as an association under the mother bodies.

FIFA will provide instructors and pay for them for programs like the FUTURO courses. Associations have the responsibility to request for these. Trainees are usually encouraged to attend in their own political territories but it is not a rule. Usually, it would be a free course with a few goodies for attendants, but associations get extra activities on the programs that require payment.

The same goes for the International Solidarity Committee training. The IOC will usually target youth coaches and school teachers. There may be special courses that can be organised from time to time but all FIFA does is wait for association to apply or request.

Sometimes specialist courses are organised. This can be goalkeeper training courses, youth training for players below 10 and so forth. There can be refresher seminars that are target specific. It can be a single subject seminar covering tactics only. It can be even be further divided into topics like 'Defending corner kicks', 'Attacking from wings' and 'Winning the ball in Midfield'.

For qualified coaches, an attachment with big clubs that have experienced coaches, this can be a worthwhile experience. It helps cement all the theory learnt and boosts the confidence especially if one has never been in a situation to coach. This does not substitute the moment of truth when you are by yourself and 40 players are waiting to hear what you have to say and show. It can be very scary but it is very normal.

CAF just started to have proper certification system that is in line with the UEFA licensing, a few years back. As expected, they have done a lot of work in North and West Africa. Both UEFA and CAF adopted the C, B and A Licensing system. After the UEFA A License, there is a Pro License. These are however done by individual associations under the authority of UEFA. CAF still runs the courses and Lesotho and Botswana had C and B License course this year.

I may have omitted a few other things as I am taking all this from my head. I encourage you to search for your information on the net, though from my experience, it is not readily available. Associations usually do not advertise for these courses and you will know about them when they are done. Good luck.

Friday, November 11, 2011

As football coach, champion your cause

How many times have we seen coaches shouting instructions to players, and the players respond by giving a thumbs up? Many. Ask the player after the match about what the coach was saying. They will tell you they heard nothing. If you listen to player interviews where they are asked about what the coach said at half-time, they all say the same thing. "The coach said 'go out there and enjoy yourselves' and so we did''. Those are parting word after a long lecture.

There are so many men and women aspiring to coach football teams one day and my advise is, believe not only in your dreams to be coaches but in other people's dreams to be led by yourselves. That is far from enough. Success only comes to people who have the assurance that they will be great coaches, that they can deliver.

Why does one desire to be a coach? Hopefully, it is not to be like Gavin Hunt, Keutsepilemang Ndebele or Joseph Mourinho. Having a yardstick is encouraged, but then, be your own man. Do whatever you can to curve out your football. Be the architect of your own designer football.

The desire to be a football coach becomes futile if one looks at the money and the fame that goes with it. Stress is part and parcel of the package and you cannot escape it. In doing football at a high technical level, forget EVERYTHING you have ever heard from football commentators, analysts and reporters because, entertaining as they are, they are not knowledgeable at all. Their analysis is good to the ear and for arguments, but it is fatally dangerous for your consumption as a professional.

That goes to all media people as well, like myself. They are great people and do a good job in providing information, because, normally they get access into where no Jack and Jill can. Sometimes they get access to information you need as a coach and it will be worthwhile to get them closer so you can have visuals or audio to do your job.

You must become a coach to portray a pattern of the game that is only in your head alone. Stop dreaming and fooling yourself trying to think what Sir Alex Ferguson says to his team. It is never about what anyone says. Words are the most irrelevant and behaving like a traffic cop on the touch-line making a nuisance of yourself is meant for circus. It is what one does at training that gets translated on match day on the pitch.

I say this because many people expect a coach to tell his players to do this and that, play here or there and so forth. That is the best way to express your ignorance about the game. Players are not to be told anything, they are to be coached football at the training ground. As a coach, teach them football during the week and wait for them to show the world what you taught them from training on the match day.

However, somehow the most marketable coaches are those speaking the language of the layman. They are in good books with the media and the administrators. They operate and the same level with them -  birds of a feather. That is why national teams fail. The board members interview national coaches and when the coach talks the football language, the interviewers laugh when he leaves the room, and then go on t give the job to the one who makes them nod heads in approval. We all know where that leaves the national teams.

Become that kind of coach and get good jobs with good salaries and produce nothing. You tend to have a lot of sweet football words without depth. This type of coaching also translate to a lot of talk during team talks and half time. There is too much emotion and shouting and the chairmen and owners who gate crush the dressing room enjoy the scenario because he believes you are really 'telling them'. That is a lot of dust.

This boils down to a mentality or a philosophy. You want to achieve a certain football result that only you can produce and in your own way. It becomes necessary for the club culture to share components with what you can, and want to achieve. In this regards, keep good friends around including journalists and administrators so they can source you tools you need.

The concepts and their applications as you want them must be researched, planned for by you and practised over and over until well understood. Repetition is key to any training. However, national team coaching becomes more interesting and less laborious as more tactical work is done.

Understand football rules and their limitations so you can utilise and sometimes exploit them and then work out what you want attack or defence to mean to you. Learn to define what you call success. As said before, if certain people around you start to shout your praises, watch out and do not be carried away and begin to lose focus.

Having a football strategy that you exhibit to the world successfully week in and week out makes you a good coach. It makes you feel good and very selfish football-wise, which is good. It is for this reason that qualified people step on each other's toes if placed under the same roof. Most stay together to keep their jobs because they have families to feed.

As a potential coach yourself, know what you want and map a way to achieve it. Go out and study trends and developments. Sit down and draw up practical plans and get the players you need. Gather data, pictures, videos, talk to those who know, ask questions, invite experienced mentors to your teams and to watch your sessions and matches.

Consultation does not mean copying and pasting other people's ideas. The point is to polish your own. It means you want to see how your football can be similar or different, better. It is about trying new things and maybe remodelling the status quo. You need useful information that may make your football more relevant or useless. It helps keep your game at your finger-tips and strive to be better than yourself.

You will remember that when I formed KFA, most of the best players were registered with other teams and the particular group I eventually worked with were said to be rebels and thugs. Using reverse psychology, this is the tool I used to make KFA fearsome. It was my straight talk with the players, because I told them in their faces that I heard they were criminals and unruly.

While they were concerned to start with, I told them that is exactly why they will not be beaten in football. The thuggery energy was suddenly converted to a spirited weapon that detonated at each kick-off. We went on a rampage and thrilling fans and referees in 2nd Division. We refused a few penalties offered for free and quite a lot of favours. Actually, the only two losses from our 40 games came when entertained referees tried to help us.

Have a very strong belief in your own football. Read the game well, see the wrongs in general terms, and see the good. Give solutions to the problems your players have. Sometimes it can be done on the spot, but usually, major tactical problems are to be noted and trained upon during the week.

This actually makes your starting point. That you must have players play football and give them solutions to the problems they face. You can not start giving the solutions to the problems they do not have, and may never have.

I have seen revered coaches who find teams playing football and then they try to give half-time pep talk. You can only give advise and corrections to students you have taught. Otherwise, just let them play and enjoy. The essence of coaching gets drowned in the emotions and theories sometimes. Under all circumstances, know the parameters under which you are operating and adjust accordingly.

As a coach, you must always remember that, you do not play Arsene Wenger or Jose Mourinho's football. You play your very own football. Players and clubs play your own football. Get the data and statistics you need, sit and plan. Go to the field and follow your plan to the letter. Do not create or accept short cuts. Make very simple and practical exercises in areas that resemble the game situation. It is either you will go along the trends or against the grain.

Be involved and be part of the players and make fun. Let the whole thing be enjoyable. Come match day, all you did during the week becomes your team talk. That goes for half-time pep-talk in the dressing room. You do not go in there and shout out things that players are not aware of. Calm down, and then go over the game plan, what is going right and what is going wrong. In either case, you state why you are right and why things are going wrong. You will need statistics to prove your points. Ask questions from players about where they are finding difficulty and how they think they can solve the problems. All within the scope of your work with them.

In my case, I become calmest when I am losing and the situation is bad, but somehow players will tell that the boss is mad. They will try to make things happen for you. It becomes a very hard noisy push when the win is big (2-0 and up) and could have been bigger. You must be tactful to know your players. Some people you do not take it lightly the use of a loud voice or public address while others will only hear and act if facing open ridicule.

Either way, they are playing your football.  While fans may be clapping and cheering for you and your team, and commentators are revving and screaming your praises, remember someone may be sitting somewhere in a corner laughing at how much of a moron and a clown you are. It is unfortunate they never really get time to sit down and ask you what exactly you were trying to do.

In most cases, 5 to 10 minutes will sell out your tactics and depending, one coach may be changing their tactics to counter yours, or turning the screw to stamp their authority. Depending on your ability and strength of mind, you may be one coach or the other.