Where football prowess contrasts with coaching

28Jan 2016
Mohammed Ugasa
The Guardian
Where football prowess contrasts with coaching

If there was a time when a Tanzania national soccer team coach used to be spoilt for choice of midfield players, it was in mid seventies through early 80’s.

Mohamed Richard

Tanzania once used to have foreign coaches in the likes of Jeff Hudson, Rudi Guttendolf and others. Football talents were abundant and this was a moment when the national team made strong impression at international platform.

Why midfield players were in huge abundance, it is not a question that can be instantly answered.

Young Africans team had the likes of the late Juma Mkambi, Pan Africa used to have Mohamed Rishard ‘Adolf’, Salum ‘Carlos Mwinyimkuu and Hussein Ngulungu. Simba had at their midst midfielders in the likes of the late Daniel Mwalusamba, Aloo Ali, Abdallah Mwinyimkuu, Khalid Abeid, Mtemi Ramadhan, the late Ramadhan Shaaban Maufi ‘Lenny’ and Khamis Kibonye to mention but a few.

Not to be forgotten was Coastal Union’s Titus Bandawe, KMKM’’s Shaban Ramadhan and CAD’s (Capital development Authority) Charles Mngodo. Former Pamba and then Simba midfielder Hussein Marsha was a new generation of players who donned the midfield role in the late 80’s up to mid 90’s.

National soccer team coaches were in most cases at crossroads to pick up the most skilful midfielder in their first elevens. The quality of their soccer playing pattern is almost rare to be seen in the modern era.

Hussein Ngulungu and Mohamed Rishard ‘Adolf’ were highly dominant when it comes to the national team selection. Craft, stylish and elegant was Adolf, with his goal poaching instincts as well as defensive role despite his ordinary looking morphology.

Adolf had the brand of football skills that baffled many and as a soccer fan you will jest be impressed by the way he was playing the game, hence elegant and full of controls.

He was one of those players who were groomed by the then Young African’s Romanian coach Victor Stasnlescu alongside other players who then became top stars like Kassim Manara, Mohamed Yahya ‘Tostao’, Jaffer Abdulrahman, Mohamed Mkweche and others. Adolf was Pan Africa’s die hard player and formed its cream of players that included Leodegar Tenga and Jella Mtagwa who dominated the 1982 premiership season to lift the Mainland title for first and last time.

Probably for those who don’t know or were not born by then, Pan Africa FC was a breakaway team formed after Young Africans was split up in 1975; following a failure to retain the East and Central Africa Club championship title in Miombasa. Two football sponsors came into collision course between the late Mohamed Virani who remained with Yanga diehards and Shiraz Shariff who masterminded the formation of Pan Africa FC later in 1977.

Back to his football prowess, Adolf as the case with the rest of the soccer stars retired and the next step was to pursue coaching profession.
No doubt that Adolf has travelled extensively across the continent during his football career and he is well known in Zambia after causing shockwaves to knock out the KK Eleven from the Africa Nations Cup berth of the 1980. He scored the winner in the first leg in Dar es Salaam, before Peter Tino hammered in the final nail into the KK Eleven’s qualifier coffin in Ndola.

However, the conspicuous misfortune of Adolf is unsuccessful stint in his coaching career. With all his obsession of Pan Africa, the team that helped him to flourish in soccer career, he took the responsibility of coaching the young side in 2008.

He made use of all his skills to impart the generation of players but to no avail, the team dropped into the relegation pool thereafter.

He tried to coach Twiga Stars as assistance to Charles Mkwasa at one time. Adolf, admired by many who still remember his glorious career, was entrusted to coach Police Morogoro. Very unfortunate, the poor performance demon still haunted him as the cops’ side dropped into relegation tunnel as well.

It looks his coaching career is now becoming turbulent as Bukoba-based Kagera Sugar is now floating deeply into the Mainland soccer premiership’s relegation pool.

Not known as what is in store for the Bukoba-based side, Adolf needs to work beyond the call of duty to lift up the spirits of the players and disengage from the dreadful relegation ripples.

The premiership has reached a half way stage and Kagera Sugar is at the base of the 16-team standings. This is unusual position for a team that used to be ‘giant killers’ and finish within top five of the log.

Conclusively, Adolf’s past football skills, experience and talent are unfortunately being haunted by coaching career shortfalls.