Friday, June 29, 2012

Euro 2012; Enter Mario, Exit Torres.

It's official. Enter Italy and exit Spain. Spain can beat Italy in the final if they want, but they are said to be boring by mainstream international media. This information is actually 18 months in arrears. They should have realised Barcelona were faded when we said it. Barcelona is Spain. What we did not see coming was Andreas Pirlo. By the same window, exit Xavi Hernandez.

The Euro 2012 finals get to fold on Sunday after England surpassed many people's expectations and drew criticism from within of Roy Hodgson's tactics, as if Harry Redknapp could have done better. The English were undone by the ever overrated pair of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. They could have done better without the duo.

It must be said that the Spain versus Portugal semi-final resembled a Barca against Real Madrid El Classico clash given the predictable tension and void tactics. The embarrasing amateur mistake by the Portuguese coach of leaving the best for last stole the show.

How noble it would have been for Cristiano Ronaldo to score the final and winning penalty. As he never lived to see the moment, all were reminded of always putting one's best foot forward. The least he could have done, was to let the showman take the 3rd one.

Generally, the tourney put paid my fears I wrote about in one of my last articles; that international football is becoming extinct. Save for the few matches of smaller football nations and the Italy versus Germany semi-final, the Euro 2012 was a cold siesta.

For starters, how does any teams in the universe, boasting of Wesley Sneider, Robin van Pierse, Rafael van der Vaart, van Bommel and Nigel de Jong, to name but a few, fail to win or draw a single match?

National team football needs young and upcoming players of great ambitions. The overpaid experienced professional will keep wasting a lot of our time and money. One can only hope that Spain have seen their last victory in the tournament. As much I am not an Italian fan, it is a choice between a right-handed and left-handed devil.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who impressed in Euro 2012 so far?

I wish I could tell you how the Europe's biggest football party is unfolding, but then, I can only hope it is well. Many expected us to cover the matches. Unfortunately, we do not have full-time journalists and most of the stuff you need is 'googleable'.

E-Diski will always endeavour to provide you with a different view-point of everything. Something you will never findd on google or on the net. Hard as it is, we try and will keep doing that for your value. Even, in the book, The Anatomy of Football (get yourself a copy ASAP) whatever is covered in there, you will not find in any coaching manual.

The issue of racism threatened to overshadow the Euro 2012. Fear to offend others has caused the issue to be dealt with inefficiently. UEFA's hope has been that the issues never overshadow the football spectacle. Their faith is that if it comes up, it may be 'coverable.'

To many, racism is words. In actual fact, it is a mentality. Frankly, it is the insecurity caused by the realisation that the only white thing about oneself is the skin. Or their blackness for that matter. That is so sore.

Enjoy the matches and hope to hear what the first actions of the first round matches have done for you. At this point, I guess you can still change your predictions for the winners. I went with the Dutch, and I still bank on the Dutch.

Let's hear what you have seen.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Highlanders have wolves in sheeps' skins

I am suspicious. Very suspicious. Not only because of the defeaning silence of those who do not want to tell, but given the few words they use to tell. There is more in the things not said at and about Highlanders Football Club.

As much as we shall never promote negativity and stoop low to name-call in any infighting, one day, there will be a roll-call for naming and shaming the perpetrators of hatred and destruction amongst our midst.

Verbal amatuer boxing matches ensued as the mention of what had littered Facebook concerning the Bosso juniors and the 'Academy'. It emerged there is two camps and I respect both without a shadow of doubt. I can confirm that these do not represent the opinion of club or its leadership.

To start with, Themba Ndlela's tenure was rocked by financial doldrums from day one. His administration inherited masses of debt. They flopped on the field of play. While the reduction was significant, Peter Dube enjoyed the same luxury, they are thriving in dishing out diski.

It must be said that the groundwork set-up by Ndlela has been well-handled by Dube as evidenced by the results Peter Dube is getting from the Themba Ndlela hired coach. Such development will make both great liers if they did not acknowledge the greatness of another.

That issue is not the only common product of their workmanship. There has been seemingly new adopted strategies by the new executive and some dropped projects of the old one. Some are so with very good reason while others are personal taste issues. Identifying which work for the success of the club and the ones meant to massage selfish egos will only be seen over time.

The grey area has been the 'marriage' of the football development of juniors that Highlanders and First Mobile Sports Academy of Canada entered either customerily or Chapter 37. Here, I have not heard a word from the Chairman. Those opposed to Ndlela, as if he is a threat to Dube in any way, think that it is bad.

In emotional debates on Facebook, the FMSA participating in the dana and Gotham invitation tournaments identified players to travel to Europe at the consent of Highlanders under Ndlela. This was part of the 'marriage' benefit to Bosso The current chairman was expected to sign ready typed letters for Visas, and he did not.

Why Peter Dube has not done or when he will, if at all, I am still to find out. Time is almost over anywhere. However, the tone of those supporting the non-travelling of these Highlanders players who are said to have long term contracts to Europe, seems to give the impression that FMSA is in some fishy deals that tie Ndlela in. 

If the contracted players of the club that Dube heads have ties with the departed Ndlela, what could be the possible fears of the incubent Chairman? Qualified legal practioners have thrown in their weight against the move, and so did some registered FIFA player agents. This is worrying, just the opinion of the lawyers plus agents versus FMSA over contratced juveniles whose parents consent to the move.

To start with, the argument of all those fighting the FMSA, that has been rumoured to be represented by Ndlela in Bulawayo, is the binding agreement of the two parties. Frankly, that has nothing to do with visas. There is also the question of branding the football juniors development as an academy. That, again, has nothing to do with visas.

Ideally, the ideality of this idea that all things perfect and square, a Highlanders Academy would have met and registered with ZIFA as an academy, at a cost of some $1500 or so and subscribe for $500 annually, fuels the suspected clandistine dealerships suspected by those with questions to answer.

There is probably no way Bosso can afford those expenses now. An academy must house and school its particpants. Among the many requirement, Amahlolanyama fall short. Again, that has nothing to do with visas.

Actually, failling to meet the minimum requirement for a full-fledged academy does not make 1). the dream of an academy impossible, 2) the use of the name wrong and 3). developing the project to a complete and matured Highlanders Football Academy accroding to the book wrong.

The thought and suggestion that it cannot be called and operate as it is now, based on what it does not have, is insane, to be polite. Highlanders have junior players and coaches, which is one requirents of an academy. They did not get all they have in a day. They shall grow in terms of equipment and funding. They can soon meet those requisites.

Shallow minds dwell of variants that actually are affected even by the weather. Bosso does not need people pulling down the academy plans down because someone wants to mobilise people against a project Ndlela started. True Bosso sons, having identified shortcoming for a full-fledged academy, would globe-trot asking funding for the project.

We have seen that it is possible with the pledge of a 3 Series BMW for use by the technical team when we publicised the FB issue and Tshepo Mabalane Mabalane chipped in. By the way, there were some people who were unimpressed.

Have people not destroyed enough? That mentality that when Mantengwane loses a match, the people riot and liter the streets, start with the thinking exhibited by such pathetic so-called supporters. There is absolutely nothing with Highlanders Football Academy as a name and a future development, and pulling the project and the initiators or those working for its perpetration is demonical and satanic to say the list.

There is no way, a principled man of Dube's calibre could actually destroy Bosso because he thinks Ndlela has a 'Ndlela Foundation' which I am not even sure had any Highlanders ties. Or does it exist anyway?

Players have been 'stolen' from the club previously because they either had no contracts or the inner circle working with them 'mercenarily' escorted them to the neighbours for a fee they pocketed. Highlanders lost a lot of potentially great players by such underwater moves.

At this point, it will be interesting to get FMSA to bring forward the existing agreement in place with Bosso or formalise issues for the growth of the development structures. If that fails again based on the ties between FMSA and Ndlela, it would be very pathetically sad. It would be rather encouraging if Bosso could enter into formal and clear arrangement with the FMSA, and not Dube with Isaak Mbedzi (of FMSA) transparently and above board.

After coming full circle, the names and roles of those opposing the move and shooting progress down will be available here and soon, not as a sign of Russian spy prowess, but just to name and shame the scandalous pretenders who want tot destroy the club from within, the wolves in sheeps skins.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pitso won't let the sleeping dogs lie

Let's take interest in very interesting developments in South Africa where the national association fired a coach with a handsome handshake claimed to be around R5 million, his potential predecessors have been wildly drawn up as caretaker coach Steve Khompela and Moroka Swallows' Gordon Igesund.

And then, Rahman Gumbo was also caretaker coach after the suspension of alleged match fixing by Norman Mapeza. Unlike Pitso Mosimane of South Africa who went a winless 7 matches, the Zimbabwean coach is still to be hired and had been in charge of one match which he lost 0-1. Harare fans want him fired already.

If all women fired their husbands for being sterile after a single entry, divorce courts who be the most lucrative business. Taking the case of the two countries, theirs was a bachelor's party. Their one and only will be walking in the aisle in no time. How holy that matrimonial union will be is common knowledge. They all come and end the same way, like in Gumbo's case, before the honeymoon night is over.

Roger de Sa is the most qualified replacement for Mosimane, while media favourite, Gavin Hunt may feel he has a case after successes with Supersport United. He will have to enjoy following on Mosimane's foot-steps as he did at club level.

Knowing the South African Football Association, they have a novice Eastern European with a forged CV lined up. Their counterparts may be attempting to change their favourite beacon's name so as not to match the banned list records. The colonial mentality of SAFA embedded in race rivals the tribalistic ZIFA. The best part is that their recipes produce the same bread.

The long cycles of inactivity will be a bore to Hunt and Igesund and the 'tell it like it is' attitude of De Sa counts him out as the two parties are unofficial enemies. Admittedly, the temptation in the four-time PSL champion will be strong. Igesund is in his twilight coaching years. There may never be another opportunity, but his project with Moroka Swallows is unlikely to be compromised.

It is extremely hard trying to comprehend what the football administrators think, if they do. There is rarely a moment they pick the right candidates, even just for interviews. Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs promoted either development coaches or those with CVs claimed to be doctored for the purse. The arrival to the same point is guaranteed and the cycle will begin.

To spice up how brainy these fellows can be, just over a year ago, the Premier Leagues of the two countries announced with days that they intended to change their calenders and for exactly the opposite reasons. If the neighbours belonged to different time and weather zones, it would make sense. To make the point clear, to date, they both haven't moved an inch.

In any case, it was all about Mosimane, who is said to be taking legal action against SAFA for his unlawful dismissal.It may be on strong moral grounds or just crocodile tears, if the R5 million claimed he stands to benefit is a reality. If he strongly feels that way regardless of the fee he may get, he is a strong man and SAFA must keep him.

It is not every day that a man who knows what he is doing will fore-go that much money to embarrass himself. On the other hand, it is easy to assume that Mosimane did not put much effort in the job knowing what he stood to benefit. The legal action issue is to mud our faces and divert our thinking that he is a bitter man.

Given that he had two years left on his contract, or R9.6 million more to earn, he may be looking to get his loot, intact as it is and right now. It may be real that he is arguing over his record and it doesn't say much really.

After all is said and done, if anyone comes in touch with him, and he has banked the sack, just remind him how I wrote nicely about him over his tenure. I may not need my day job after that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Germany come full circle: Futbol del Mundo with Vusumuzi Ndlovu

Germany come full circle

Futbol del Mundo with Vusumuzi Ndlovu

Having won the European Championships in 1996, Germany have been through a rough patch but has gradually returned to their deadly best.

Germany is usually there or thereabout when the honours are handed out. Their sights and expectations are always set high. Their success is based on deep reserves of experience, great tactical awareness and the ability to rise to the occasion in major tournaments. 

Clinical efficiency and unbending resolve rather than sparkling skill are the hallmarks of Die Mannnschaft as they are affectionately known worldwide. 

 Gone are; Vohts, Klinsman, Bierhof, Sammer, Schneider, Kohler, Basler Scholl and Kopke from their class of 1996 and in are Loew, Lahm , Schweinsteger, Klose, Podolski, Neaur, Khedira and Ozil.

Although Spain who broke their hoodoo 4 years ago and choke masters; Holland are in with a huge shout, Germany’s triumph this time around is non-negotiable. They will heavily rely on their elegance and ruthless efficiency.

So talented is the current squad such that they have the luxury of dropping players of Cacau’s calibre. Loew will probable plat with a lone striker supported by wingers-cum-forwards turning the formation to a 1-4-3-3 offensively from a natural 1-4-5-1. They will rely on their goal machine; Miroslav Klose and Bavarian gunman; Mario Gomez though Podolski, Muller and Ozil chip in with some crucial goals. Veteran Schweinsteger and strongman Khedira must provide cover for a Phillip Lahm marshaled defence. Lahm and Boateng are expected to run the flanks with aplomb, sending in pin-pointed crosses for Gomez or Klose

Loew has altered his formation to accommodate this precocious talent. Chief playmaker, Ozil is providing dose of subtle skill, quick thinking, unpredictability and wrecks havoc in the opponent’s final third. Joachim Loew’s injection of young blood paid dividends as Germany has became faster and more offensive.

Die Mannschaft has what it takes to acquire world-class billing. Three times, they have conquered the world and Europe. Bookmakers are tipping Spain to defend their title, having done that against Germany last time, this time the Germans will no stone unturned in search of glory which they will get.

Germany never surrender.

Buy this book: The Anatomy of Football (By Keutsepilemang Ndebele)

The Anatomy of Football is about football development from its origins through a timeline to its present state. Given such backgrounds, the society from which it germinated and got nurtured is portrayed well in the picture in a way that makes the book relevant even to readers who do not take the game seriously.

You can trust the author to include all interests and take along sports lovers in general, as the philosophies and mindsets describe will be similar and equally interesting for other disciplines and in life in general.

To guide the reader's perspective, the glance of the laws governing the game, a look the perception of football in general leads the line of thought into how decision-making processes begin with sprouting sparkle and desire to do well, and in a certain way.

The subject at always at the heart of the author is the science of football and what part it plays. There is a look at the role of technology as well as dissection of each component of the game.

Examples of known facts and footballing greats of the past and present makes it even more exciting. There are points and opinions to look at from different leagues around the world.

What makes the book more enjoyable is the easy to read language and everyday concept used to illustrate the points being made, and of course as said before, that the principles given can be applied in real life situations outside football or sports in general.

You can bet on the entertainment value, as the follower of e-Diski Blog, and so much food for thought as you will be challenged to think in other terms on almost anything in life after reading the book.

With the technical sporting ideas and concepts, it is surprisingly easy to the mind that one does not feel they are reading a coaching manual, but then, coaches and those in positions of power, will feel much equipped to face their challenges in the game with much gusto.

Looking at all the aspects of how to communicate, how to control the situation under different circumstances as well as building one's success, ardent fans and supporters will begin to appreciate their club coaches' decisions, or criticise from an educated view point.

The whole appreciation of sports in general is taken to another level and as you will realise, even an approach to one's lifestyle can benefit positively just by following the ideas being put across.

The Anatomy of Football was written in a mentality changing attitude that will make good coaches very good, average ones good and poor ones average. It will not surprising that a single simple concept will actually turn a poor one into a world beater, trust me.

It is easier to note the level of the author's understanding of the game, having worked with toddlers, amateurs and professionals for a long time, and went on to work with those who work with national teams.

Last but not least, he draws out an ideal situation of a team, worst case scenarios and the dos and don'ts of the modern game. That aspects also covers the most interesting part of how professional clubs run their affairs, from the English Premiership, Serie A, Bundesliga to La Liga.

The book is available as a hard-copy from Amazon (The Anatomy of Football) for $7, who will print on demand and ship at a cost. Specials are available from time to time from the dealership prices as well as on shipping costs. It can be purchased as an electronic copy on Kindle.

The book features interviews with some of the game's great layers and legends like Pernell McKop, former Highlanders Football Club goalkeeper and Maritzburg United goalkeepers coach. There is Botswana's Gaborone United coach, Elvis Chuchu Chiweshe as well as former Zimbabwe international goalkeeper, Muzondiwa Mugadza's life stories as well.

Efforts to have the book on the shelves are in progress. Further enquiries can be sent to the author on

Keutsepilamng Ndebele has also authored the highly popular The Glory Days (Volume 1), a book about how Highlanders Football Club grew from strength to strength over the years since 1926 to the era when the team was the perennial champions of the domestic scene,as well as What Highlanders need right now! (Volume 1). The later was meant to be a money generating project for the club, but has since been iced pending consultations with the club leadership.

(By Private Book review)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pitso Mosimane fired, but was it justifiable?

For many, this was written on the wall for ages, and unlike the King of Babylon who needed Daniel's help to interpret it, Pitso Mosimane had 48 million seers in the South African public.

The criticism ranging from poor team selection, substitutions, knowledge of the rules or the tournaments to the tactics of the day, even a man-sized ego could never be immune.

For starters, the South African national team coach was never friends with both the media and fans from day one.

Mosimane deputise Carlos Alberto Perreira leading to the South Africa FIFA World Cup, and a noble act was to continue with the team after understudying the coaching legend over two stints.

Learning from the best and implementing the tactics became two different things. Besides, even during the best times, Mosimane lacked the luck that goes with the job.

For most of the time, he was faced with the dilemma of injuries and injustices of the decisions that were not his own.

So many times he contended with off-form players who either warmed the bench overseas or underperformed locally. There is never a red-hot player in South Africa these days; not even in Zimbabwe, to really talk about.

The not-so-good ABSA Premier League was expected to produce sharp-shooters who could mesmerise tight African defences while they could not breach mediocre locals even at lower league.

The top strikers in the league are never close enough a talent to consider in any league in Africa or around the world. They are over-rated. They cannot beat goalkeepers over 20 times in the whole year.

The Bafana Bafana coach fumbled his way through his tenure with arrogance and sometimes ignorance, but then, how many people know the politics of the administrators' arrangement in availing players for his service?

While the coach would be expected to call the players and liaise with the club coaches where the players ply their trade, it never is the case with local coaches, given the narrow scope of trust.

National association bosses always crave for the limelight, always wanting to be known to be talking to Steve Pienaar or Knowledge Musona. That leads to the rapport either being built around the bosses and leaves the coach out in the cold.

The contracts being drawn for national team duties get rarely revealed to the coach, and the players' agenda on the pitch never translates to the manager's expectation.

This two-camp phenomenon is a result of a colonial mentality that expatriates are better off in leading teams. Sad and pathetic as this may be, it is so true and logical as was seen in years gone by in Zimbabwe.

At their brightest moment, the Zimbabwe Warriors were mentored by the late Reinhard Fabisch of Germany. That incredible Dream Team did not play football for Zimbabwe. They played for Fabisch. In turn, Fabisch did not serve the Zimbabwe Football Association. He served his players.

That rapport never existed, or was never allowed to be built between Pitso and his players. At any national team in Africa, any budding relationship of that nature is nipped out in the bud before it can be anything 'mercenary' to the leadership.

Foreign coaches enjoy the liberty to stretch their luck and get away with it as most of the issues are tied down on the contract. Pitso must have had a good contract of course, but always carried that monkey of favouring certain players he was claimed to 'own' so he could 'sell' to overseas markets.

To me, that was media fabrications that were unwarranted. The coach's influence on the affairs of the team was never promoted by his employers. The players never played for the coach and but fought against the leadership, albeit on the pitch.

National success to Katlego Mphela, Simphiwe Tshabalala never affected their careers in any way. It never impacted on their incomes. What was there for them really? In Itumeleng Khune, first team football at Kaizer Chiefs seems his priority, given that his deputy is a cut above him.

Frankly, I believe Arthur Bartman should be goalkeeping ahead of Khune. Moeneeb Josephs has reliability issues and inexperienced at national level, but who else is worth a second look?

Mediocrity became acceptable to all and even by the media. It must be noted that save for Everton's Pienaar, none of the internationals enjoyed first team football on a regular basis. Admittedly, Tshepo Masislela contended with injuries, but going one by one and case by case, it is possible to come up with some acceptable excuse.

The bottom line is that the coach has been fired for playing badly and losing. It is that the next coach can be local and foreign, but the same substandard material Pitso had at his disposal will be around for a while.

As usual in my space and yours, the great performances always get linked with the players while non-performance is always blamed on the coach.

I would agree on any day that Pitso could have done better, and that he should have gone at this point, but surely, I would disagree to take the same job with the same players, if the deal is that I must produce results.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is this the death of national team football?

As death of test cricket owing to Twenty-20 version, the last two AFCON versions were dull lull. Some think the last two FIFA World Cups were boring too. 

I would agree much with the Euro 2008. I can only remember the exploits of the co-hosts, Turkey, who even surprised themselves about how much they progressed in the tourney. 
Could it be a justifiable end of the Drogba, Etos, Yakubus, Kanutes, Keitas, Toures have been hot elsewhere and average playing for their countries? They could have taken it from Europe, or took it to the World to be just so-so at that bid stage.

With the less anticipated Euro 2012, as spectators, there should be means to sue. Having been taken for a ride for a while now, one wonders how long it will go.

It may the dead end of the game, or just the death of national team football. This comes after it was reported how Italy have been scandalised by bribery and match-fixing scandals in the Serie A.

Their squad to travel, if ever, will be subject of much speculation. Just like in the example of Africa Cup of Nations, it may take away the sparkle of eventual winners, in my opinion at this point, Holland. 

The reigning AFCON champions, Zambia, truly deserved it, and should have won it at any other time in their history. There will never be any doubt about it. The same will be said by the Dutch, should they capture it.

Why the Dutch? They have a point to prove after South Africa 2010. Spain took it under their guard and most probably to them, unduly. Even Barcelona is said to thrive on the Dutch tiki-taka philosophy. They will want that total football to work for them now.

England just hired a mediocre manager and have a squad selected from probably the fewest options in their history. Their lukewarm friendlies are failing to increase the interest anywhere. 

Their league contributes the majority of the participants and that is all. Many of their gifted players withdrew on fears of racial attacks and abuse. There will be general security concerns.

The English Premier League performers in the Euro 2012, will no doubt be cause of interest as others from the rival leagues will be trekking there in the summer. 

The earning powers given that Manchester City, Chelsea contribute a significant number of the highest paid players. 

Barcelona and Real Madrid have a fair share of millionaires. Will they break a leg for their countries or they are fulfilling just another fixture?

Elsewhere, there is Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund of Germany while Paris St German of France contributes as well. These teams pay big money.

There is enough insurance for whatever eventualities and their futures are easily protected by both country and clubs, but it is not the same.

Lionel Messi fails to compare well with players he outclasses with ball manipulation and understanding, but his country contribution has not qualified him to earn the respect of fans, pundits and fellow footballers alike.

The same goes for Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o. They needed to lift something for their nations. After that generation of the African golden greats, is there another to follow? I wonder. 

As for now, with less anticipation and interest, we await what may make or break the confederation football, the Euro 2012. Under normal circumstance, new TV sales and satellite decoders and subscription sales would sore at this point. The old versions will do until we see the need for something speciial.