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Ernie Brandts: Substance over style turned to be his undoing

25th December 2013
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On Monday, Young Africans (Yanga) sacked their coach, Ernie Brandts. Saturday loss to bitter rivals Simba proved to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. 

 
The derby loss provided a good excuse, an opportune moment to show him the exit door without creating discontent among fans.
 
Without a proper hindsight it is easy to fall in the trap, many are bound to fall in, of accusing the Young Africans leadership of being trigger-happy.
 
 Taking into isolation the fact that the management sacked him barely 24 hours after the derby loss it is easy to point out he has been axed because of the weekend loss.
 
It is partly true that his sacking could be blamed on a trigger-happy leadership but that does not paint the whole picture. 
 
Despite leading Yanga to the Vodacom Premiership League glory and also topping the table at the half-way mark of this season, upon reflection Brandts’ sacking could be seen coming.
 
As the league mid-season break began report of the end of his reign at Jangwani had began floating in a section of the local media. 
 
There were rumours that his contract was not going to be renewed. From the moment his contract was left to almost run out, Brandts was essentially a dead man walking.
 
The manner in which is short term predecessor, his fellow European journey man, Tom Saintfied, was shown the exit door ought to have prepared him for what to expect any time. 
 
Saintfied successfully defended the CECAFA Kagame Club Cup but was fired for losing a single match against Mtibwa Sugar barely a month after taking charge at the Jangwani club.
 
Saintfied lost two matches. Brandts lost a derby match. Both got the sack. The point is on both occasions defeats were just mere excuses since both had impressive results. 
 
The Jangwani leadership wants impressive results delivered in a grand style and they clamour for both style and substance. They are not ready to drink poor-tasting coffee from a golden cup.
 
Saintfied and Brandts teams did not play attractive football. Sexy football as fellow country man to Brandts, Ruud Gullit, puts it. Under both Saintfied and Brandts, Young Africans seemed to be grinding out results. 
 
Their teams appeared to be an expensively assembled bulldozer. There was little creativity, guile and fluency. There was a great deal of reliance on counter attacking. The emphasis was on using the speedy players to unlock defence rather than intelligent build up play.
 
Mbuyu Twite was heavily relied for long throw-ins that potentially unsettled defences. Athumani Iddi’s long range passes were often used to set the wheel in motion for dangerous counter attacks that resulted in Yanga grinding out wins despite being out-played more often by even less expensive assembled teams in the local league.
 
Simon Msuva and currently the newly acquired Mrisho Ngassa pace were employed resulting in a team that played less and less attractive football. 
 
Yanga were too direct, completely lacked guile. Despite boasting the likes of Haroun Niyonzima and Frank Domayo, who could have offered creativity, the team more often resorted to long balls.
 
Upon further reflections, Brandts might conclude he could perhaps have dealt better with the fall out with his key striker, Hamisi Kiiza. Kiiza protracted contract renewal showed he has some backers in within Yanga leadership. 
 
Falling out with Kiiza might have been used by the player’s backers who were not his admirers to stab him. He ought to have known the repercussion of falling out with his leading striker. 
 
The weekend loss might have offered the leadership a perfect excuse to get rid of him but upon reviewing that game, very few Young Africans fans would shed tears.  
 
As Logarusic’s Simba creatively built up their movements, Yanga were reduced to chasing shadows. Their defence was cut into pieces not by muscles and speed but the shear creativity and guile of Simba youthful players acquired at bargain price or raised through the club Academy.
 
Whoever takes over at Jangwani ought to be very carefully. He has to deliver both in style and substance. Attractive football should be his mantra, his caveat emptor in safe guarding his job. Merry Christmas to all!
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN