Johannesburg - Last weekend, I had the honour of meeting new Polokwane City coach Luc Eymael. I had been looking forward to finally shaking hands with the Belgian because of his sterling job at City.
But the meeting turned out to be nothing worth writing home about. Before we could even shake hands, the Belgian went off on a tirade, accusing members of the “fourth estate” – journalists – of fabricating stories.
My first and lasting impression of him was not an endearing one: I was at the receiving end of his vileness after suggesting he should take the matter up with the publication that “misquoted him”.
He did not take kindly to that, accusing the media of having an agenda against him.
He threatened us and insisted that we introduce ourselves before he could grant us the interview. There is nothing wrong with that – we always say who we are and which media house we are from before asking questions.
But this was apparently aimed at the Sowetan newspaper for reporting that he had said his players were not good enough. Any doubts I had about whether he had said that evaporated after this encounter – I now have no doubt that he actually uttered those words.
As the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot”, and this was the best time to finally meet the man in black – just after his team had thrown away two points following a 2-all draw with neighbours Baroka FC.
To say Eymael was seething with anger would be an understatement. He was boiling and on the verge of hitting the roof.
The man was livid. The reason?
He blamed match officials and seemed to believe his team was hard done by. But he went about it the wrong way, taking it out on the poor hacks, who had to bear the brunt of his misguided perceptions.
We happened to be at the receiving end as well, as he went on a tirade about what had happened on the field of play. He could not contain his anger or frustration, and went on a rant, in the process of which, he made a moegoe of himself.
He blew his top as he asked his media person to record his interview.
“I don’t want to comment too much, but we know what happened. I have been in Africa for six years and I have seen things,” he said while expressing his anger about the match officials.
My first impression was that Eymael was not as tactful as I thought he was; that maybe he thought he was superior because he was from Europe.
His European mentality will, unfortunately, be his downfall. He accused Baroka coach Kgoloko Thobejane of having disrespected him when he suggested they were going to score three past his team.
This was football talk and Thobejane was just pumping up his players before the game. Here is my piece of advice for Eymael: stick to what you know best, coaching – and make sure you get results.
Ranting and raving won’t deliver results. You have not proven yourself yet, and the best thing is to do the talking on the field of play and make sure you win matches. It is clear that your team cannot handle set pieces – Baroka’s two games were from set pieces – and this is the area you need to work on.
The fact that City have conceded two goals in each of their three previous games shows that there is a problem at the back, and this is where Eymael needs to concentrate.
Venting his frustrations on members of the media won’t solve his problems because, before he knows it, he will be back in Belgium looking for a job.
If I were him, I would make sure that my team was performing and let the results speak for themselves. Who cares if he uses his own money to do video analysis of his opponents, as he said?
Maybe that is the reason he has not made a mark yet because he concerns himself with things that don’t need him. Eymael, if you want to be respected, start respecting others.
Your European mentality won’t take you anywhere if it makes you think you are the best when you are not. And, by the way, respect is earned, not given.
After last weekend’s encounter, I am looking forward to many more meetings with Eymael, as I believe he has something to offer South African football.
But he needs to shut his mouth and let his good actions do the talking.
Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi