By Dino Ballotti
One always wonders what obstacles, sacrifices and challenges the world’s best coaches have had to endure in their pursuit of coaching greatness. Today’s read discusses two prominent yet in my opinion underrated coaches, both at home and abroad, who have shown what it takes to succeed.
On Saturday, the football loving public made their way to our much treasured Independence Stadium to witness what we all thought would be an achievable 3 points and a step closer to Brazil 2014. Alas, a bad day in the office in many respects. Bygones be bygones, what I do however want to bring attention to is the detractors that have all gone on record to criticize our now departed national coach Bernard Kaanjuka. From one coach to another, you walk with your head held high my friend. I do not want to discuss the Warriors lackluster performance, but rather to recognize the job of my good friend Patrick ‘Captain my Captain’ Mabedi, Malawi’s assistant coach who took charge on the day. Objectively, Malawi were the better team on the day and stuck to their game plan, Patrick informed me after the match how they had been keeping tabs on the players plying their trade in the PSL and that his side had followed instructions to a point, ultimately scoring the much needed away goal, and frustrating the Brave Warriors in the process.
‘Captain my Captain’ and I met in Hennef, Germany, on an international coaching course a few years back, we shared a number of stories and he was one of the people that encouraged me to marry my girlfriend and now beautiful wife Retuura. The Malawian F.A realized that a player of Patrick’s caliber was destined to be a coach of note and invested resources in assisting him to acquire more knowledge about the beautiful game. For those of you who have no idea who ‘Captain my captain’ is, he was a worthy skipper of both Kaizer Chiefs and Malawi’s flames for over a decade before joining then PSL strugglers Moroka Swallows. It is with the Dube Birds where he finally called it a day on his illustrious playing career and embarked on the journey of becoming a coach. Patrick was promptly taken up on the Swallows technical team where he headed the clubs u19 development side. He has since completed SAFA’s level 1, 2 and 3 courses, attended the international coaching course in Hennef, completing both the A and B license and is currently registered to pursue his Pro-license which in football terms is the PHD of coaching. Patrick is not the assistant coach of Moroka Swallows by chance, nor did he lead Malawi to a deserved victory away from home by accident, he epitomizes professionalism, a humble yet extremely ambitious man who knows what he wants in this world and because of this I have much respect for him as a coach. He is Malawi’s very own special one.
The second coach I feel deserves mentioning is a son of the soil and our very own Ricardo ‘Bugsy’ Mannetti. From being Namibia’s youngest ever international, winning a PSL title with Santos and ultimately leading the senior side, he is a coach that shows his passion for the beautiful game, has an insight in the game second to none, and is an overall nice guy. We were acquainted many years ago when he retired from professional football and returned to the Land of the Brave. He had just started his very own football academy and was also coaching the mighty Civilians, the man was eating and breathing football. He however always had the time to offer advice, be it in the mall or on the street, I consider him a coaching encyclopedia. His club record is very impressive, with both Civics and Black Africa, he has always shown thorough preparation and I firmly believe he is destined to coach professionally outside our borders. Currently the Brave Warriors assistant coach, and national u20 head coach, as well as in-house NFA/CAF instructor, Ricardo finds the balance that only very few can replicate. I fondly recall our time training my then Young One’s side next to his Lively Lions at the Khomasdal B and C fields, we would play a number of friendly matches, usually just as preparation for B.A. My team never ever won, at times we gave it our all, yet the win eluded us, be it in friendly’s as it may, the elusive psychological win was just not be. There is one football tip Coach Mannetti shared with me, that was simple yet worked so well. It was at the SKW stadium one Saturday evening, using yellow cones in the parking lot sand, he said and I quote, “don’t give players positions, give them roles!” Meaning don’t tell Larry Horaeb you are a right back, explain exactly what you want him to do. Every player has their own idea of what a ‘wing back’ is and so it is our job as coaches to bring across our philosophy without compromising the player at the same time, advise that has proven invaluable to me as a coach. Just recently I made a number of new friends at Soccer House, local coaches from all across Namibia, one of them being Moses Katjiteo, my childhood dream defender. Coach Mannetti was an instructor at the course and I witnessed firsthand the simplicity of his ideologies. He made a complex idea look so simple, yet work so well, he was patient in his corrections and could adapt any coaching drill to the hooter of an 061 taxi.
I salute both ‘Captian my Captain’ Mabedi and ‘Bugsy’ Mannetti, we do not always give the credit that is due, both these coaches portray the true spirit of a coach and many, many aspiring coaches, myself included, can learn a lot from these two respected coaches. In conclusion, the title reads even Sir Alex would have lost to Malawi, as our players did not fight for the country. A coach is only as good as his players and Sir Alex would have done no better.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015