Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
PREMIER Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele has challenged local administrators to emulate coaches and undertake various courses and workshops that build their capacities and improve on their governance of the national game.
Ndebele believes that while coaches and even referees have gone all out of their way to improve on their knowledge of the game and ultimately play their part in the development of football in the country, club chiefs and national administrators have surprisingly lagged behind.
The PSL chief executive is also an accredited Fifa administrators’ instructor and having watched top-flight coaches including those from the newly-promoted teams like Tsholotsho and Flame Lily attend the just-ended Caf A Licence course at the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden, he has a genuine reason to be concerned.
There is also genuine worry within the domestic football family that the game has been pegged back by its administrators some of whose decisions have left the sport operating in an amateurish fashion.
That local football is still using the 1996 rules and regulations highlights the pace at which administrators have been developing the sport even though some of them maybe quick to want to pint to a tough operating economic environment as a major hindrance.
But when coaches go all out of their way to raise US 200 just to enrol for the CAF A Licence then the argument on funding or a tough operating environment falls away.
The coaches have also been doing their part to implement the new club licensing requirements which include that the coaches who handle Premiership teams should have at least a Caf B Licence.
There have been two classes for the Caf Licence in the country with the first having been held in August while the second class completed their opening module last week.
Referees have also been holding constant workshops and course to upgrade their members and keep in touch with the amendments to the game which world soccer controlling body Fifa would have come up with.
Such efforts have not escaped the attention of Ndebele and the PSL chief executive said yesterday it was imperative that the administrators emulate what the coaches have been doing if Zimbabwean football is to scale the kind of heights that its potential richly deserves.
“Coaches spend the whole year in class doing Caf C, Caf B or Caf A licences which is commendable. The referees also do the same with refresher courses and if coaches are holding four workshops or courses a year why not administrators.
“There is need to have club administrators also attending more workshops and building on their capacities and we need to work closely to improve on that aspect,’’ Ndebele said.
Ndebele said there was also need for administrators and coaches to synchronise their operations so that there is a greater understanding of their different but complementary roles.
“When coaches attend courses it is done on the principle that they will be operating within a certain structure at their respective clubs.
“It does not help, for instance, if a coach who has been attending a course where he is taught on how to manage a team as the head coach goes back and operates where there is a technical advisor or welfare manager above him yet these people are not administrators.
“Administrators should facilitate a smooth environment but we have many cases where the administrators have been the ones causing problems even for their coaches.
“You sit in the terraces and you hear the club administrator is always publicly criticising the coach yet there is a platform through meetings for that criticism to be aired and corrections done,’’ Ndebele said.
Ndebele also reckoned that by attending courses and workshops, the administrators could also improve on the marketing of their brands.
Most of the Premiership clubs are still to attract shirt sponsors and strengthen their respective brands.
“There are other important issues like how do you dress the coach and make him a true ambassador of the club? As an administration you cannot give a coach a six-month contracts or one-year contract then tell him that you want him to develop talent, at the same time you want him to finish in the top six in the Premiership.
“By attending workshops and courses, as administrators you can get an upgrade on the laws of the game so that we do not unnecessarily criticise refereeing decisions out of ignorance of ignorance.’’
Ndebele said the courses were also vital in helping administrators handle the issue of player contracts.
Club administrators have also been under fire from the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe over their treatment of players.
FUZ chairman Desmond Maringwa and the union secretary-general Paul Gundani have indicated that they have had to at times resort to the Labour Court after failing to get administrators to honour their side of the bargain.
Gundani reckoned that the implementation of the club licensing structure would also reduce the clashes between players, coaches and administrators and give the national game a professional outlook.
The former Warriors and Ziscosteel defender cited the clubs’ failure to pay players their wages, bonus or signing on fees as an indication of the problems that failure to implement club licensing have brought.
“We have players who have not been paid in the last six months. It’s a bad situation and I think these things have been worsened by Zifa because of their failure to implement the club licensing system.
“This is one of the most effective ways we can end these problems but there is reluctance on the part of the administrators to implement.
“Even new clubs coming into the elite league should be thoroughly vetted to see if they can meet the minimum requirements,’’ said Gundani.
Ndebele also suggested that the must be standards set which club administrators must met in the same way that coaches and referees have to fulfil certain requirements.
“In our courses we also look at how we present our players in terms of brand marketing. In fact there are a lot of aspects of the game and business that are taught in these courses.
“There must be benchmarks for performances at club administration with people being tasked to deliver at the office and ensuring that those at the secretariat understand issues of player contracts and the need to respect the technical input of coaches as well laying a code of conduct for the players, coaches and other employees,’’ Ndebele said.