BY PATIENCE LEPHOGOLE
“Go coacher ga se mme mpha bogobe kana ntshiele coke ke nwe,” combative local football coach Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare once uttered when he was under pressure. Loosely translated, what Nare intimated was that coaching is not an easy job as people might perceive it to be.
For good or bad, a football head coach is usually burdened with many responsibilities and tricky decisions to make. A look at coaches on the touchline or technical area will be enough to tell a story. Angry exchanges with officials here and there, a head scratch or a fiery display of pressure, are some outbursts they display in a space of 90 minutes.
For most coaches, it is normally the adrenaline that rushes through in their veins, and the uncertainty that falls on them together with pressures of several issues bestowed upon their shoulders.
Too often people equate football to war or battles. That said, to understand what a head coach does during a game, it might be helpful to think about what a general does during a battle. A coach will gather intelligence on the opposition, watching and re-watching dozens of previous game films. The goal is to identify various tendencies of the opposing players and coaches. They will look at various things varying from what their offense and defense do, how different players react in certain situations, what kind of decisions do opposition coaches make and what may happen in the last seconds of the game.
With all that information in hand, a head coach and his staff will develop a strategy for the game, along with contingency plans.
According to the chairperson of Coaches Committee and Masitaoka Football club coach Nelson Olebile, football is a sport built on emotion, but it is up to the coach to control them. “As a coach you go through various emotions during a game. For a coach, those emotions must be under control, whatever it takes,” he said.
“A coach needs to manage the game and his players,” Olebile said adding that a coach has an ethical way he has to portray himself. With all this in mind, a coach has to avoid misconduct. “Players look up to the coach, hence the principles have to be abided by,” he added.
“Supporters are very influential; it is better one manages them. They have negative and positive influence that is why they are called ‘top player’. At times I control their emotions despite all pressure. You have to remain calm and execute the plan,” he added.
As for management, Olebile opined that they do not have much influence although they have invested a lot. “Nobody wants to go die, as such you have to try to avoid relegating. It is better to try by all means to survive relegation,” he said.
For Security Systems coach Chico Nare, who is known for his fiery behavior on the touchline, everyone is born with emotions. “One can be short tempered, the other not, nervous, it is better you do not let frustration not to get in the way,” he said.
“A coach can be frustrated by the players not doing what they have been practicing at camp, referee’s decision costing the game and provocations from rivals,” said Nare.
Nare further said some supporters may portray misconduct. “Supporters may throw stuff at coaches’ technical area to show their emotions. As a coach, when this happens know your job, believe in your plan and execute it,” he said.
“Relegation is a bit problematic, you should know your plan, how it will work and the way of survival for the team. That way you will need to push players to avoid relegation,” he noted.