Locally, there is no football coach who is more successful than Major David Bright.
Bright has won everything that every other local coach aspires to win. His cabinet is brimming with medals from tournaments, titles and league championships that he successfully competed in. He is also the man regarded as one capable of turning the fortunes of an ordinary team into a force to reckon with.
Currently, Bright is at Uniao Flamingo Santos, and the going is bumpy. Of late his team has been registering a string of losses leading to some people ruling it out of the Premier League next season. What is baffling about Santos is that they are playing good, attractive carpet football. Santos’ play is even likened to that of the Brazilian national team. From the very first whistle until the final one, Santos players are always on the rampage, pressurizing. The problem, however, is that they always end up on the losing side.
“I have to admit that there are problems in this team that can only be solved by the team itself. The main problem, however, is that most of the players in this team are still young and do not play business oriented football,” said Bright. “They still play this glamorous type that is characterised by showcasing of individual skills. That type of football is not welcome in the Premier League or else you are going to lose many games. I am, however, working on that on a daily basis and the situation is improving. Most of the Santos players are skillful, but they need to know that what matters the most are the goals.”
Bright also told Sunday Standard Sports that another problem at Santos is the lack of depth. He said, compared to other teams, Santos did not have many experienced players. As an example, he cited a game against Notwane, which they lost 6-2. Bright said two of their experienced players, Talinda Nyathi and Khumo Motlhabane, were not available for that game and that forced him to field new players who had as yet to play in the elite league. Notwane, he said, took advantage of that.
Bright added that having won their first game against Mochudi Centre Chiefs the previous week, the players relaxed thinking they could do the same to Notwane.
After being thrashed by Notwane, many people thought that Santos would be a much-prepared team for their encounter against BDF XI. It was not to be as they lost by two goals to one. What pained the most about Santos was that they were the first to break the dead lock through a well-taken goal by Vincent Phiri. After the goal, Santos had some concentration lapses and committed schoolboy blunders resulting in two quick goals from BDF XI.
The question that many people have started to ask is whether Santos would be relegated to the lower division next season despite the good football they play. It happened to Mogoditshane Fighters in 1995 while under Bright. At that time, Fighters were fresh from the First Division and played good football, just like Santos, but they were condemned to the lower division.
Bright, however, allayed the fears saying Santos is in the Premier League to stay.
“I can assure you that this team will not be relegated at the end of the season,” he said with confidence. “I am still building this team and the players are still getting used to the heat and pressure of the Premier League. By the time the second round begins, many players will be in a good position to actively compete.”
Bright also said that if it were up to him, he would nurture the players for two years before thinking of challenging for the league honours. If the management wanted a title sooner, he said, they would have to beef up the team with experienced players. He said at Fighters he was given ample time to build a solid team.
Santos is facing a serious threat. Other teams are hovering over them to recruit their players. If the management is not careful enough, they would find many of their players scattered all over the Premier League when the transfer window opens in January.
Bright conceded that it was a worrying factor and urged the management to try and keep the players they had tirelessly worked for.
Already their star player, Sekhana Koko, is reported be waiting for the January transfer window so as to join Township Rollers.
“It is the nature of football for teams to recruit players,” said Bright. “What is worrying about Santos is that most of the players are still young and they can be easily enticed to join other teams. Most of these players are young and need guidance and that is what I am trying to do.”