Ihefu SC’s coaching dilemma repeats – or may eclipse – Geita Gold FC's

27Sep 2022
The Guardian
Ihefu SC’s coaching dilemma repeats – or may eclipse – Geita Gold FC's

SOCCER pundits are battling with a tactical dilemma of how to evaluate the situation at newly promoted Ihefu SC, which is dear to a few of those in top political leadership, owing to its string of poor results.

Ihefu SC's assistant coach, Zubeir Katwila.

In itself, it isn’t surprising as newly promoted teams are like the Roman god Janus, who ostensibly rules the sky in January.

One face looks towards the past year and its baggage of preoccupations, the other face looks towards the coming year a bit apprehensively.

There is an aspect in which Ihefu SC resembles Geita Gold FC, namely in changing the coach who brought the team to promotion, to looking for someone with a stronger CV so that the side has a greater potential to make an impact in the Premier League run.

That exercise failed for Geita Gold FC and they soon (or slightly later) brought back the ‘promotion coach,’ in this case Fred Felix ‘Minziro’ of a certain amount of fame.

That situation is haunting Ihefu SC, who replaced Zubeir Katwila after guiding the team to its demotion to the Championship and then back to Premier League, again.

Technically, and definitely, this is what the coach would be feeling, he would have demonstrated his coaching ability, in that if he earlier failed to guide it to remain in the Premier League, he proved his abilities by bringing it back to the top-notch tourney.

It would follow that he only has to ‘fine tune’ his team to be safe in the top rung, which isn’t just tactical like training to match the higher speeds that prevail in the Premier League, but also in recruiting players.

The club leadership seemingly rushed to hire a coach, instead of giving the incumbent more resources.

The dilemma is noticeable in how pundits explain what is happening at Ihefu SC, where two things appear to be contending, that the new coach needs or may even rely on the advice of his predecessor, who is with him on the technical bench.

At the same, while its results have so far been rather poor, there is some noticeable improvement in the manner of play, which is hard to quantify as what it means.

Is it that the players can do somewhat better when they are under pressure to impress the new coach, or is it that they are finally getting the tactical ropes right?

In the Geita Gold FC case, the club leadership simply had to restore the tactical tasks to the promotion coach and he is still on the post even now, but for one reason or another, the side appears to be struggling.

It isn’t a precipitous candidate for the fourth slot in the Premier League that they attained last year, and despite having some resources it has slipped out of the continental tournament, which again isn’t surprising for a complete newcomer.

The issue is its technical bench options or realities and if there is a clear formula that Geita Gold FC learned or can share with Ihefu SC since their situations are in large measure comparable, clear variations apart.

That is also a ponderous issue for the pundits since analysis is on safer ground when it handles plausible and clear options where it is even possible to say where the coach – or the club leadership – may simply be wrong.

What complicates the matter is finding a rule for restoring a team to the Premier League and guiding it at that level, whether the first set of skills suffices for the second assignment.

An affirmative answer would not explain why the Geita Gold FC coach appears to be struggling, in like manner as his Ihefu SC counterpart in the wake of the promotion.

In that case, it would appear that the Geita Gold FC management wasn’t totally out of range in guessing that following the promotion, the side needed a more dependable coach, but then he failed to lift team expectations.

It follows that the promotion feat coach knew the side better than the new one, and he excelled to attain the fourth slot.

Still, there are follow-up problems with maintaining the pace, and questions abound as to whether the coach has the answers, while Ihefu SC rushed with answers.

We could maintain the position that the promotion coach is best for the side unless there is plenty of investment to be made – in which case the credit for later success would then be attributed to recruitment rather than to a new coach.

That scenario best fits Geita Gold FC's experience as it did well with the promotion team and the coach to reach the fourth position, the best one could expect a relative newcomer to attain. Their current problems could be explained by low new investment, etc.

It is possible that the team looked for new players and made a considerable effort to retain the golden boot winner in the past Premier League season, George Mpole who was best placed to leave for greater challenges.

The club put up a price that the city rivals failed to match, but the side could still lose money in that gamble as their continental tournament episode was too brief. It is a learning round.




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