In our editorial opinion yesterday, we raised questions to the Football Association of Zambia and the Zambian government over the decision to engage a new foreign coach who would be paid US$25, 000 while neglecting our local trainers who have demonstrated hard work and patriotism towards the growth of the biggest sport in the country.
We reminded the authorities how Coach Aggrey Chiyangi was ingloriously dropped as Wedson Nyirenda’s assistant, for making a statement that did not go down well with the football powers. But when they were stranded, they rushed back to Chiyangi who, without showing pride, delivered the title glory at COSAFA stage that had eluded us in the last few years.
It is in these local men that our meager resources should be invested in. Expatriates do not bring so much difference to our football. Instead, they go well nourished as we provide a launch pad for better opportunities for them.
The late Boniface Simutowe (MHSRIP) would call them ‘briefcase’ coaches. He was not far from the truth. They move from one country to another not to develop but build their CVs and earn some income.
Critically looking at the last 10 years, what can we say Herve Renard, Dario Bonetti, Patrice Beaumelle (briefly) and most recently Sven Vandenbroek have done to develop our local coaching structures or football as a whole? How much did we benefit in the long term from 2012 triumph? It was a one hit wonder, as we are now even failing to qualify to the Africa Cup – two years straight.
Are we better now after the involvement of foreign experts in our football? No. We have since rotated the national team coaching job and changed coaches like underwear– from Honor Janza, George Lwandamina, Nyirenda, Beston Chambeshi and now Chiyangi. What was our investment in these coaches when we had the expatriates around? Nothing. Are we willing to spend US$25, 000 on any of the above names to train our national team? No! Unless bazungu. What a shame!
Good leaders plan ahead, they don’t just invest without a vision. If we can draw lessons from the last 10 to 15, where will we be in the next 10 to 15 years? Most likely looking for more money to pay another expatriate coach who will again take off when loaded. And the cycle will continue.
Dear FAZ and government, be wise and look into the future. We have an opportunity to develop our own into world class coaches. There is a plethora of young coaches on the horizon. Coaches that are hungry for badges and yearning to make an impact. If we group a few, at least 20 of these and invest heavily in them, don’t we think we can produce a Claudio Ranieri, Marcelo Lippi or indeed a Vicente Del Bosque of our own?
Look at Songwe Chalwe, Misheck Lungu, Charles Kafula, Noah Chivuta, Davies Phiri, Kalililo Kakonje, Numba Mumbamba, Chisi Mbewe, Perry Mutapa, Oswald Mutapa, Peter Mutale, Donwell Yobe, Kampamba Chintu, Lawrence Lubinda, Billy Mwanza and Kelvin Kaindu, among others who are yearning to take the mantle. Tomorrow when we hear that any of these have been hired by another country and they qualify to the world cup, we will start chasing after them to come back home and be patriotic, yet we were letting them rot in the terraces.
Why can’t we group these young coaches; send some of them to Brazil, the Netherlands, Croatia, England, the United States or wherever they can learn the best coaching trades? Don’t we think we’ll be building a think tank of youthful coaches? Isn’t that less costly and more beneficial in the long term? These are Zambia’s future. All, or most of them, are in the same age range as Sven who came, reaped what he could, failed and left.
It is on these young coaches we should be spending the US$25,000 or at least a slice of it. Not a man who will come and go, leaving us worse than he may have found our structures. Like we stated yesterday, this inferiority complex of paying foreigners more has to be dealt with. It is clear that we tend to behave different and accord them a lot more respect than we do to our locals. That’s the complex of our football administrators.
If we have so much appetite to hire, one of the best options for now would be to tap into our Croatia exchange programme. We certainly can get and benefit from an affordable coach that we can give something between US$7, 000 or at most US$10, 000. The rest of the $25,000 could be channeled towards developing those who will take over in the not too distant future.
In fact, another suggestion would be for the FAZ president and the FAZ patron to round up ambassadors from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and request them to invite 10 or more young qualified coaches to be attached to the association’s technical directorate. These coaches should then be attached to the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 to help us nurture our players in their formative stages.
Once these coaches leave Zambia after years, their skills will remain embedded not only in our young players but the youthful local coaches they would have worked with. That’s where Zambia perhaps need expatriate coaches to help our young players and youthful coaches equip themselves for professional careers in Europe at some stage.
Alternatively, the FAZ president could consider engaging the government to round up ambassadors from France, the Nerthelands, Belgium and the UK and plead with them to sponsor dozens of our local coaches on some form of exchange programmes. The UNIP government could do it with coaches who would be attached to the ministry of sport or education. At some point, Zambia produced very good boxers primarily because the country had an exchange programme with Cuba who would send their coaches to train our local boxers. These exchange programs have worked before and so they still can.
This will be much more meaningful expenditure than lumping an amount into a direction that will yield little or no results in the long run. If FAZ has found the US$15, 000 as they claim, that’s commendable. My appeal to the patron of FAZ and his government is to extend austerity measures to football and secure the US$10, 000 taxpayer towards developing local coaching talent.
Paying $25, 000 to a briefcase trainer is plainly a misplaced expenditure that we should not entertain. Abash inferiority complex in football! Abash abuse of local coaches! Iifyakula lolesha kumulu nensala ati “bola na lesa”, nishi abasungu balelya nokwina fyabupuba. Give us iwee Andrew Kamanga!