“I was given an ultimatum to change an assistant coach or resign, and I chose to resign...”
To coach Clinton Larsen, who took this stand, thanks for making us believe there are still some professional people out there. At least there is someone with balls, who would rather go hungry than compromise his principles.
You are a breath of fresh air in the coaching profession. I wish most of your colleagues were the same.
The developments at Bloemfontein Celtic make for depressing reading.
It is nothing peculiar in football circles, though, but others have suffered in silence.
Faced with an ultimatum he did not agree with – to work with Duncan Lechesa as his assistant, and therefore ditch Lehlohonolo Seema, who has been with him since last season – Larsen felt this was an insult and decided to pack his bags.
Hopefully, Larsen’s bravery will open the way for more revelations and freedom for local coaches. It is an open secret that club bosses double as coaches and are physically involved in day-to-day activities. This is wrong.
Clubs must allow coaches the freedom to express themselves in failure and success.
Allegations of direct interference by the likes of Chippa Mpengesi and David Thidiela, and many more, are well documented.
In a week when Jomo Cosmos owner, chairman and coach Jomo Sono revealed that most clubs were coached from the stands, Larsen did not want to add to those statistics.
Sono said: “Cosmos survives because I have a big heart, plus I am a chairman who sits on the bench. I am not a chairman who is hiding himself in the suites while coaching the team from up there.
“In the PSL, 80% of the teams are coached from the top, up there in the suites. The coaches on the bench must carry phones and get instructions from men in suits hiding in the suites.
“At Cosmos, we don’t keep phones on the bench, because I don’t get instructions from anyone sitting up there. I do it myself, and face the fire without any fear.”
While most would think twice before walking out, Larsen did the honourable thing and left with his integrity intact. He never let the lure of money sway him. Others remain because they have nowhere to go and would rather stomach a dire situation than walk away.
Larsen is different. This will go a long way in defining him and his character. Coaches are too often puppets remotely controlled by bosses who know nothing about tactics. The bosses don’t attend training sessions, yet have the nerve to tell coaches who to field and who to leave out.
They want to take the glory when teams do well, but are nowhere to be seen when the chips are down.
They always boast in different corners that they are the ones responsible for their teams’ success, but coaches are left to fend for themselves when teams lose.
You even see players disrespecting their coach’s instructions because they know power lies elsewhere.
Coaches like Larsen can put an end to this nonsense.
If our football is to improve, we should leave coaching to coaches and club bosses should take care of administrative duties to make sure clubs are successful off the field.
They must attend coaching courses if they want to coach – and sit on the bench for everyone to see them.
How many coaches are willing to lose their bread and butter for this?
Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi
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