I don’t subscribe to the notion that setlhare sa motho o montsho ke lekgowa (black people tend to respect and listen to white people more than they would to a fellow black person), as many do. This is what most of us were told when growing up, meaning we were more scared of white people than of our own.
And it seemed to be the case then.
But, now, I’m inclined towards the saying that a new broom sweeps clean.
In the case of football, what happens is that a new coach comes up with ideas and players go all out to impress him. And this has worked in many instances.
So, in my opinion, those who have attributed Orlando Pirates’ recent success to a white man, Josef Zinnbauer, taking over the reins from Rhulani Mokoena are off the mark and in an offside position.
I disagree that players react positively to a white coach, as has been said, but they do react to a new coach, irrespective of their race.
The opposite was true at Mamelodi Sundowns a few years ago. White coaches – Johan Neeskens and Hristo Stoichkov – were given chances and were unsuccessful.
Those who have attributed Orlando Pirates’ recent success to a white man, Josef Zinnbauer, taking over the reins from Rhulani Mokoena are off the mark
They came with big reputations of having played and coached at the highest level in Europe, notably for Barcelona, but failed to get going at Sundowns.
Then came Pitso Mosimane, and everything changed for the better for the Brazilians.
Mosimane went on to win all the domestic titles, and also delivered the continental CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup trophies at Chloorkop.
Or is this an exceptional situation? I’m not quite sure if it was a case of being at the right place at the right time for Mosimane.
Pirates captain Happy Jele leads the team's celebration of Innocent Maela's goal against Black Leopards on December 21. The game was new coach Josef Zinnbauer's first in charge. Picture: Gallo Images
Yes, a white man came along and his arrival coincided with a change of fortunes at Pirates.
By the way, the same white coach was called names even before he assumed his position because of his “thin” CV.
Zinnbauer has been a man on a mission and is working hard to prove his detractors wrong.
And, so far, he seems to be on the right track – the German tactician, who took over in December, has yet to lose a game.
As for Mokoena, I think it was more a case of being inexperienced than being unlucky.
He must just concede that he was found wanting after being thrown into the deep end.
I hope he learnt his lessons from this failed and unfortunate episode. He should come back a better and stronger person.
Mosimane has boasted about this a number of times – about how he is loved in north Africa – and I think he should seize the opportunity and go and try his luck
But, back to Pitso. I think it is time for him to venture into the unknown.
With the negotiations over a new deal at Sundowns taking too long to conclude, it would be better for him to go beyond our borders to further test his coaching capabilities.
It is time for us to export one of our own and I have no doubt that, if anyone can crack it outside South Africa, Mosimane can.
He has nothing more to prove here after winning everything on offer, and it would be nice for him to leave while he is still wanted and appreciated.
The kind of respect he commands in north Africa, particularly in Egypt, says a lot about his talent.
Mosimane has boasted about this a number of times – about how he is loved in north Africa – and I think he should seize the opportunity and go and try his luck.
“You go to Cairo and they respect you. The way they treat you is unbelievable. I mean, who am I [to be treated like that]? They treat you like they are seeing Pep [Guardiola]. I am a local coach from South Africa, but it’s unbelievable the respect and the response I get from them. I don’t know, they believe in me. They gave me a chance and put me on TV to analyse their games [during the Africa Cup of Nations]. I don’t even speak Arabic. It’s humbling when you get respected,” Mosimane was quoted as saying by Kick Off magazine’s website.
I know Mosimane is an ambitious person and hungry for success, and these two attributes would make him succeed.
After all, if he fails, he can always come back home, where he is loved and admired. He will not know how good he is until he ventures up north to go and swim with the sharks.