With the MTC Namibia Premier League entering the home straight, the pressure on coaches to deliver results has started to increase and the usual coaches merry go round has once again started.
As in previous seasons, several coaches have come and gone over the past few months, only to resurface at new clubs.
Ricardo Mannetti was fired by Civics after a string of poor results and later resurfaced as Black Africa coach. Ali Akan had earlier left Black Africa under dubious circumstances after a fall out with club owner Ranga Haikali, only to resurface as Ramblers coach. This appointment was not without its drama as Ramblers’ technical director Lutz Pfannenstiel objected vehemently, saying that he was not prepared to be pushed aside. The issue was resolved when Ramblers chairman Harald Hecht announced that Pfannenstiel would remain in overall charge as technical director, while Akan would take over as coach of the first team.
It remains to be seen how Pfannenstiel and Akan will work together and how their roles will develop. Of special interest will be the directive that Pfannenstiel will take “overall responsibility” for the team’s performances, even though he will not be the head coach.
Ronnie Kanalelo was dismissed at Eleven Arrows and replaced by his assistant Congo Hindjou, but their woes continued when they lost 1-0 at home to Orlando Pirates on January 23 to drop down to 10th position on the log. Club owner JJ Doeseb said that Hindjou would act as caretaker coach until he finds a suitable replacement for Kanalelo, but Arrows are now dangerously close to the relegation zone and whether a new coach can turn their fortunes around remains to be seen.
It is often clear that changes are needed, especially if the results are not forthcoming, but in other instances, these constant changes of coaches, who invariably take time to settle in and to implement their new tactics, can do more harm than good.
Last season, for instance, Tollie van Wyk and Dave Fransman resigned at Ramblers after Eric Muinjo was appointed as technical director, but Ramblers’ results continued to slide, and before the end of the season Muinjo had left, with Van Wyk and Fransman once again replacing him.
Would Ramblers not have been better off with Tollie van Wyk and Dave Fransman still at the helm? Would Black Africa not have been better off with Ali Akan remaining as coach? And would Arrows not have been better off with Gilbert Rwasoka, who was fired at the end of last season after taking them to the Cell One NFA Cup final, still in charge?
Cricket, meanwhile, has been thrust into the spotlight after the chief administrator of the Namibia Sport Commission, Rusten Mogane accused it of not doing enough in terms of transformation, on and off the field of play. Cricket Namibia’s chief executive officer Laurie Pieters took strong exception and in this issue we bring you a wide ranging interview with Pieters, in which he touches on issues such as cricket’s development programme, transformation and quotas in sport.
Hockey has been no less controversial as Unam star player Siabonga Martins was banned for the whole of the new indoor season after picking up a red card at the end of last season. Unam have dominated the men’s Premier League winning the indoor title for the past nine years, but without Martins they could struggle to make it 10 in a row.
In the February issue we also report on the national rugby team which started a busy season with a home defeat to Russia; boxing, which also has a busy programme in store; women’s football, with our national Under 20 team losing to the DRC; and the annual FNB Desert Dash, which gives a completely new meaning to the term ‘endurance riding.’