By Dino Ballotti
I woke up this morning wondering which position I would play if I was still a footballer, whether I would be a centre half, midfield maestro or goal poacher. The same can be said for coaches, technical team members, club owners, supporters and critics alike – we all need to play our position.
As a footballer, your sole mandate is to perform to the best of your ability for the greater good of the team. You have absolutely no say in training methods, selection criteria and team tactics. I recall my football icon Paulo Maldini saying and I quote, “my job is to play football, the coach decides the rest.”
In Namibia we have too many ‘player-coaches’ who believe they know best. I have to admit that many a coaches can get it wrong at times, but then there is a club president/director who will play his part. Locally, certain players are content with receiving their wages come month end and show disregard for the success of the team. I can see in the eyes of a player when he no longer cares about the welfare and success of the club. When this self-motivation is gone there are two options, pack your bags and find a new club or hang up your boots and find an individual sport like tennis or swimming.
Secondly, the management of a club must also play their position. They hold the cards when it comes to recruitment of coaches, technical team members and players (on recommendation from the head coach of course). What do you think is the role/position of a chairman in a football club? To be the face of the club? To sign cheques? To decide the philosophies of the teams playing style?
Allow me to share my personal opinion on the role of a club chairman. In a Namibian context it is to structure the football club and part guidance to the board of directors. What I am referring to is an individual that strategically ensures all areas of the club are best equipped to streamline and achieve the clubs goals and objectives.
According to Mr. Ranga Haikali aka Dino, the Lively Lions governor, a chairman’s duty is to oversee the implementation of the teams overall strategy. He added and I quote, “this covers the budget, strengthening of the team through recruiting playing personnel, advising the technical team on selection, increasing the supporter base, purchasing team gear, sponsorship acquisition, logistical arrangements i.e transport and training fields, ensuring winning titles, player welfare and development liaison with NPL.”
After much consideration I have decided to use my friend Mr. Sidney Martin, the chairman of African Stars, as my example of using his mandate to best equip the football club in meeting its objectives. Under his chairmanship Stars have won league and cup titles (not forgetting the captain of the ship Bobby Samaria), they have brought back thousands of spectators – not supporters that sit at home, but spectators that fill seats at Sam Nujoma stadium. Acquired numerous sponsorship deals, which is slowly making the club self sustainable, started a monthly African Stars information booklet (first of its kind in Namibia), developed a youth academy that can already boast an u17 league cup and consistently remained in the race to win the coveted Namibian Premier League.
A chairman should not be a ceremonious one but rather the catalyst for change which he surely is.
Lastly, the supporters must also play their position. I was a spectator at the Black Africa vs. Ramblers match two weeks ago Wednesday and was dually shocked and disappointed. The league’s top goal scorer, affectionately known in football circles as Adebayor, was the centre of criticism from a minority group where I was seated. I dare not repeat the insults which were hurled at him and the team for the better part of the match. When the winner was scored in extra time (and an ‘I told you so’ glance in my direction from Ranga) the very same supporters removed their shirts running around as headless chickens in jubilation. I must quote the final words of the same supporter who had only negative things to say for the duration of the match, “oggg, die span is reg!”
There are many stakeholders in a football club, from the players who do the business on the field, to the coaches and management who do the business off it, not excluding the media, supporters and government. We often forget our role in a football club and cause more harm than good. Remember to always play your position!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015