Allan Clark is having to prove his worth as an elite league coach by saving Black Leopards from relegation thanks to the inexplicable belief of local club bosses that foreign coaches are always good. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Allan Clark is having to prove his worth as an elite league coach by saving Black Leopards from relegation thanks to the inexplicable belief of local club bosses that foreign coaches are always good. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

OPINION: Local is the way to go for a quality coach

By Matshelane Mamabolo Time of article published Mar 12, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Allan Clark is having to prove his worth as an elite league coach by saving Black Leopards from relegation thanks to the inexplicable belief of local club bosses that foreign coaches are always good.

It never ceases to amaze me just how naive our club chairmen are as they continue to go to Europe in search of coaches while leaving capable men right under their noses.

At the beginning of the season Leopards has French journeyman Lionel Soccoia as their coach but he hardly lasted.

They replaced him with his countryman Luc Eymael and he too was sent packing quicker than you could say bonjour.

This seeming obsession with foreigners is not unique to Leopards with just about every PSL club boss quick to look towards Europe whenever they look for a coach.

And many a time the coaches they have brought over are not worthy often the title, a number of them being unknowns in their very own countries and others actually not coaches but train ticket examiners, plumbers and beach bums.

Small wonder then that the likes of Clark are only getting chances close on a decade after they’d been in the business.

Second in charge to Cavin Johnson from back in their time at Platinum Stars, Clark is finally getting the chance to prove himself now that Leopards’ favourite Europeans have let them down.

Thrown as he is, into the proverbial lion’s den, it was refreshing to see him choosing to look on the bright side of things.

Speaking after Leopards’ 1-0 defeat at Wits on Tuesday, Clark expressed his delight at finally getting the opportunity to prove himself.

“I don’t think I jumped into this position with my eyes closed. I’ve been around and I’ve gained experience. If I didn’t think I was capable, I would not have accepted the role bestowed upon me.”

But he lamented the fact chances for local coaches to prove themselves are few and far between.

“I do not think young coaches in South Africa get enough opportunities. We keep giving opportunities to foreigners that come here and do not understand our football. They come here and want to dictate how we play in terms of the European style.”

No truer words have been spoken. The reality of the local game is that many young coaches do not get the opportunities because club bosses seem to believe any coach from Europe would do better.

Yet the reality is that there are many good local coaches who should be given the opportunities.

The majority of the top footballing countries in the world hire their homebred coaches who often do well because they have a thorough understanding of not only the game but the players psyche as well as their challenges as people.

Yes a few young coaches have failed some clubs before. But when you look deeply into why that has been the case you will realise that it all has to do with the unrealistic expectations of the club bosses who often do not create conditions conducive to the coach succeeding.

In my two decades and a half of covering the game, I have realised that many of the so called small clubs in our league are their own worst enemies in that they just do not understand themselves as club and thus often hire anyone to coach them without ascertaining if they would be a fit. And more often than not, that anyone is from Europe.

@Tshiliboy


The Star

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