The appointment of Steve Kompela marks a historic event in South African football. This being a South African coach taking charge of Kaizer Chief for the first time in 21 years. In my mind there is no doubt that that this appointment is but one of the many other brilliant business decisions made at Naturena over the past few years. In fact check out my analysis on this appointment in the article: TOP 5 reasons why Kompela is the right man for Chiefs posted in the Opinions section.
However the appoint also reminded me of another piece I blogged on the 16th of May 2012 as first seen on www.Oshebeng.co.za/Talking Points. I decided to repost it today, as I could not settle a debate in my own head about whether or not it spoke true of South Africa today or not. Please read below and let me know if you agree, or if you actually think things have changed.
Kaizer Chief is a big club. It is probably the strongest brand in South African sports industry. I think it is even stronger than Puma, Adidas and NIKE and this is why I say that.
When Puma appoints a supervisor to look after operations on the shop floor, they do not call a press conference. But when Kaizer Chiefs appoints a captain, they do. Not even the national team captain gets announced that way. When the NIKE changes their in-store staff uniform, national radio stations do not open lines to get the nation’s reaction; but when Kaizer Chiefs launches a new jersey – it happens. This brand is so big that a child born and bred in the remote town of Riebeckstaad already has an opinion about them by the time he turns six.
But there is a price you pay for this success, and that is too much attention from observers, detractors, analysts and journalist a like. If you consider that even though there is an ongoing ownership dispute in Cape Town over Ajax, Bloemfontein Celtics’s Jimmy Agusto’s name remains covered with the black cloud of alleged staff assault, and murmurs of ODG’s suspension over football payola are still hanging over Platinum Stars. It is actually ridiculous that a Kaizer Chiefs coach will still find himself defending a team selection decision from a game lost 10 days ago. That alone should tell you that the coaching job at Kaizer Chiefs is no child’s play. It is a job in which pressure is abundant, and criticism comes from all sides. Furthermore, I have no doubt that it is a job that would be 10 times more difficult, if it was done by a South African.
The word RESPECT comes from the Latin respectus, which means ‘to see one another.’ As a fellow South African I really challenge you to think about us and whether or not we actually see the good work that we do in our respective fields.
For an example, ever wonder why every Bafana Bafana coach who is South African is referred to by his first name. People call Mr Sono, Jomo. People call Mr Mosimane, Pitso. People call Mr Moloto, Trott. People call Mr Tshabalala, Screamer. In fact even Mr Motaung is referred to as Kaizer. Seriously, these are grown men, some of them some of them with grandkids. But let it be a foreigner, people make the effort to honour them by using their full names. Joel Natalino Santana, Carlos Queroz, Carlos Alberto Perreira and so on and so forth.
This has a lot more to do with RESPECT, or self-respect as it were. We just do not respect one another. We don’t respect OURSELVES; even though our history compels us to conduct ourselves impeccably, on matters related to patriotism.
But do we?
If Franklin Cale takes a set piece, curves it past the wall and puts it beyond the keeper’s reach to hit the onion bag. We will spend the week discussing the keeper’s poor positioning. But if Rafael van der Watt does the same thing, we will spend the year congratulating him. If Manchester United squanders an 8 point lead only to loose the championship to their noisy neighbours, we call it unfortunate. But if Mamelodi Sundowns does the same we call them useless.
This is why Kaizer Chiefs has to appoint a foreigner, albeit gingerly. Because the reality is, until we find a way to purge the destructive venom of self contempt which permeates our every being. The management at Kaizer Chiefs has to constantly make the sad decision to protect yet another deserving South African from our vicious condemnation which would be ten times worse if his last name ended with a vowel.
The tempest prognosticator;
Themba A Dikgale