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One man's meat is another's poison


I have a question for you? Do Curriculum Vitae mean anything in the world of football when it comes to coaching?

Usually I like to offer constructive criticism to our own so that we can improve in whatever sport it is that we’re playing; however the phenomenon I wish to talk about started and has been mastered by European football clubs.

We barely go half a season in any league without seeing a coach being dismissed for non-performance. It has to happen because there have to be a few teams that are struggling at the bottom of the standings by the third month of any league. Because different clubs have different targets, we see coaches being let go for various reasons.

Roberto di Matteo was let go by Roman Abramovich over a dip in form in the league and for crashing out of the Uefa Champions League. Mark Hughes parted ways with QPR after a terrible start to the season. Harry Redknapp stepped in to rescue the club.

Hughes has been in charge of various clubs, like Fulham, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, while Redknapp has had stints at West Ham, Southampton, Tottenham and others. The list of rotating coaches is long; from Martin O’Neill’s move from Aston Villa to eventually end at Sunderland, to Rafa Benitez’s move from Liverpool to Chelsea via Inter Milan and into unemployment. There is also Jose Mourinho, who has been unable to settle at one club since leaving Porto. His Chelsea departure wasn’t pretty but at least he can say he left Inter Milan willingly after winning everything – literally.

The fact is that all these managers have been successful at some time or the other with different clubs but then why do they keep moving? To me it shows that the managers either run out of ideas very quickly or they weren’t smart enough to adopt a common strategy with the owners of the clubs before signing. Why else would a successful manager suddenly become unsuccessful to the point where he’s dismissed?

I should put a disclaimer here for Arsene Wenger’s case. There it’s all about a stubborn board and coach who do share a common strategy to win the “finishing in the Top Four” trophy.

I come home now, where we have learned from the European way of doing things and are becoming masters of making one man’s poison another man’s meat.

On Monday morning I read how Leonard Saleh had been hired to take over at Western Stima, who let their Coach Henry Omino go after failing to clinch a Top 8 position in the Kenyan Premier League. This was the same Omino who got Stima to last year’s Top 8 final.

Interestingly, Saleh had been relegated several years ago with Mahakama and has since coached several clubs, including KCB, who sacked him a year ago, forcing him to take a job with Division One side Agro-Chemicals. Poison or meat?

Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno went from being the darling of Gor Mahia, after he led the club to a second place finish in 2010, to being sacked by the club a year later for a string of poor performances. The Gor success led Zico to be given a try at coaching the national team, Harambee Stars, but he couldn’t succeed there.

Despite the difficulties, Sony Sugar offered him a job but the 2012 season wasn’t what Sony had in mind. Zico now finds himself without a job but I can almost guarantee you that another club will come calling soon and expect the world from him. Poison or meat?

Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo went from being relegated with Mahakama in 2010, to winning the league with Tusker in 2011, to being sacked by the same Tusker FC in mid 2012 for a string of poor performances. He couldn’t rescue the under-performing Oserian from relegation but that didn’t stop Sony Sugar from snapping him up late last week. Poison or meat?

Robert Matano was disgracefully let go by the Sofapaka team, which he had led to a league victory in their debut season. A string of poor results saw Sofapaka Chairman Elly Kalekwa bid him goodbye. Matano wasn’t so lucky at his next job with AFC Leopards where he was shown the door. The “Lion” who never gives up has risen again to take charge of Tusker FC, who won the league this season; although Matano took only charge in the last ten matches. Poison or meat?

Another coach who has been poison for some and meat for others is James Nandwa, who went from Karuturi Sports to Tusker, where he finished the league in third and still got sacked. He went back to Karuturi, then to Rangers, who were relegated this season. He then went to Harambee Stars. Poison or meat?

Former Sofapaka and Mathare United coach, Salim Ali also falls in this category and so does Kennedy Odhiambo, who was snapped up to be an assistant coach at Gor Mahia after being dismissed by City Stars. City Stars Coach Gideon Ochieng has also done the rounds and so have many others.

How is it that, professionally, you can fail in one job and someone is so quick to snap you up to do the same job in a different environment.

I would like to see coaches and club owners making wiser decisions the next time around. Discuss the club’s ambition and realistic abilities openly before putting pen to paper to ensure that nothing gets in the way of reaching your target.

It really doesn’t matter what I say. The Europeans have mastered it and their football is light years ahead of ours.

Can we at least try and reason before picking up another man’s poison and hoping it will turn into a juicy piece of meat.


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