The sight of Lloyd Mutasa sitting in the VVIP stand as a spectator when Caps United were entertaining Ngezi Platinum Stars at the National Sports Stadium instead of being in Bulawayo where Dynamos were facing Bulawayo Chiefs reminded many of the saying, “from hero to zero”.
By MICHAEL KARIATI
It was saddening seeing Mutasa look out of place at the National Sports Stadium, and not in the company of even one Dynamos faithful, but he was surrounded by Caps United followers including former Makepekepe juniors coach Albert ‘Dalala’ Mabika.
Yet, this is the man who only a few months ago was being hoisted high by Dynamos fans in celebration after he took a DeMbare team of average and untried players to second position behind FC Platinum in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race.
This is the same man who only a few months ago, Dynamos fans were singing loudly in praise of as the Harare giants trampled over opponents on their way to finishing just two points behind Kugona Kunenge Kudada.
This was the same man for whom Dynamos fans cried foul when he was not crowned the Castle Lager Coach of the Year for the 2017 season contending that he was far much ahead of the ultimate winner, Norman Mapeza, in the execution of their duties.
Yet this is the man that Dynamos have thrown out of the window without even a thank you or even a small pay cheque to take home after all that he did for the club.
Mutasa was blown away by the wind at Dynamos that felt that nine points from 10 matches was not good enough despite the fact that there were still 24 matches in which Samaita could have changed the course of events.
The Dynamos leadership did not even look itself in the mirror as to what exactly was their contribution to the whole club crisis and picked on Mutasa as the scapegoat.
Even the fact that Mutasa was left with a skeleton side after the leadership forced most of the star players out of the team — including Cameroonian Christian Epoupa — due to non-payment of signing-on fees was overlooked
Samaita, however, is not the only coach who has lost his job after only 10 games in office. Joseph Takaringofa of Mutare City Rovers, Darlington Dodo [Bulawayo City] and Tendai Chikuni of Chapungu were also given the boot when the season reached the 10th game stage.
The question is: At the rate at which the hiring and firing of coaches is going, how many of them are likely to follow the quartet before the season reaches the halfway stage? Or are 10 games enough to judge the performance of a coach, be it at premier league or social football level?
That is the tragedy of Zimbabwean football where clubs hold too much power over coaches to the extent that they hire and fire them at will, but turn to the contract when the coach wants to leave when the team is at its peak.
What is clear is that the coaches are also to blame for putting themselves at the mercy of these clubs.
Whether it is because of lack of education or desperation for jobs, local coaches have found themselves entering into contractual agreements that give total power to the employer.
Worse still is the fact that some of them have developed a habit of quickly jumping into jobs where one of them was unjustly fired. They even accept half the salary of what the sacked coach was earning in order for them to just secure the job.
Surely, coaches need both protection and guidance. They need long-term contracts that give them not only security, but also guarantee them compensation when they are unjustly fired when their contract is still running.
In most cases, it is the club that approaches the coach not the other way round and as such the coach has the power to make his demands.
The coaches should insist on contracts like the one that Erol Akbay signed at Highlanders. Despite failing to deliver the required results, Highlanders were forced to keep the Dutchman until the expiry of his contract.
Had Bosso decided to kick him out, the Bulawayo giants would have been forced to buy out Akbay for the remaining part of his contract, something which the club was not prepared to do.
Every year in one season, eight or so coaches lose their jobs in the Zimbabwe premiership, but in most cases, it is the club leadership that is to blame for the team’s continued losses.
How can teams like Mutare City Rovers or Chapungu that do not spend even a cent on the transfer market expect their coaches to produce miracles? Or in the case of Mutasa, where the majority of star players were forced out of the club due to non-payment of signing-on fees by the club leadership.
The Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches’ Association should step in and educate its members on how they should deal with clubs instead of being treated like chicken fodder. The coaches should place their demands instead of the contractual negotiations being like one-way traffic in favour of the club.
Is the association’s chairman, Beki Nyoni, listening?
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