Protecting the Local Football Coach

When the axe falls on a KPL coach it’s never surprising, when it falls on an AFC Leopards coach it- like a tradition, expected; when it falls on James Nandwa like it did two days ago- it’s another day in a football coach’s life.

James Nandwa ex AFC Leopards Coach

James Nandwa ex AFC Leopards Coach

I always admire the personality of James Nandwa, cool and calm guy. Doesn’t seem to like trouble but like any other coach- 11 horrid decisions can cause him a job, worse even, his life in special circumstances. Amidst all the praise and glamour of winning Kenya’s domestic cup, he handled every single moment with absolute magnanimity and when the rough days came; his calmness behind the worried look painted a picture of a man who just wasn’t resigned to fate- was going to let fate take its course.

Yes boy, it finally did. Just not to send Nandwa home, it also exposed the flaws in INGWE’s managerial systems; which in all honesty, is similar to that of most other clubs in this country.

Don’t you it find horrible that a club (50 years old to be exact) would just let a manager go at this time of the season and worse, break the news to him via a call while he’s on the road two days to a match day?

The question always is, why do clubs do this? For a moment i thought, are coaches knowingly or unknowingly encouraging this trend?

In this country, the coaches have an organization known as the KEFOCA (Kenya Football Coaches Association), up to this date I’m yet to understand what this body is meant to do for our local coaches, don’t worry so much about the name- it gives a clue right?

While it’s clearly understandable that coaches are fired day in day out, the question is in most cases we hear stories of coaches still owed by their former sides months even years after they were shown the door.

In a league where ‘professionalism’ is being introduced and is in its infancy stage clearly setting precedence will open the eyes of many more others.

This means that the day KEFOCA will clearly follow up on one case the trend will come to a halt as the fear of being on the wrong side of the laws will scare clubs from not honouring contracts.

Before the talk of contracts being honoured though- does their existence hold any water?

In this league last year alone, there was an example of a coach who accepted a job offer just through an SMS. Many more examples that might have never made it to the press exist over the years.

“Who even does that?” I thought to myself.

But that’s the sad truth. Are our coaches acting in a professional way before they/we demand to be them to be treated in the same manner?

The questions just don’t end there, the answers lie in examples that happen before our very eyes.

An influx of European coaches have come into this league over the past few years and it’s been evident they command special respect leave alone special attention. Coaches like Logarusic, Eymael have always demanded for proper contracts and even left when they thought their demands were not met. This is one trait our coaches’ lack, who can even dare say NO let alone walk out just because his contract is not honoured?

With more clubs seemingly getting more money compared to the previous years, it’s only fair the coaches who are tasked with the job of churning out results get proper contracts. Saying NO to a coaching opportunity at a top flight club might seems surprising just for the simple reason that a written contract is not brought to the table as replacements are so many- but in the pursuit of professionalism not such a big price to pay in the long run.

So while Nandwa, his assistants amongst many others who have lost/are yet to lose their jobs sleep, club owners and administrators will continue the exploitation.

Kenyan coaches no matter at what level need to learn the value of professionalism.

Erica Jong’ in one of her publications amongst the many she’s got remarks, “I think professionalism is important, and professionalism means getting paid.”

Please note; I never touched on results on the pitch here. It’s evident that results on the pitch no matter how good or bad they go will one day lead to a sack or a final exit even if it’s by mutual consent. The respect contracts need to be accorded though will give every coach the peace of mind while he does his work. The fear of the unknown thus hides within the fears, but once we can fight the fear, the hope for tomorrow despite the unknown can be easily dealt with- thus better output, in a coach’s case, results.

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