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18.02.2007 Football News

To Sack or not

By myjoyonline

IN 1986 when the Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe-led administration in Hearts was confronted with the dwindling fortunes of the club they identified the playing body as the prime cause.

It therefore put 23 players, including the late Ofei Ansah, Sampson Lamptey and other top players on the transfer list, paving way to what came to be known as the "Musical Youth" made up of Shamo Quaye, Ablade Kumah and others.

Twenty one years later, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, faced with a similar problem have gone a step further to identify not only the playing body but also the technical team as its or points.

Unfortunately for Kotoko, what they have put their finger on is wrong.

In other words, having done away with three coaches — Zito, Afranie and Uzum — and nine players they are still going round in circles, trying to find what is anchoring them down.

On the surface, this looks like one club's problem, but considering the fact that there are 15 other premier and several division one, two and three clubs, it is important to examine closely that tendency of rushing to find scapegoats each time something goes wrong with the winning ways of a team.

Obviously, this is one area that club managements cannot do without and must be seen to be making diligent efforts to correctly identify problems in times of crisis or in the face of mounting pressure from supporters.

Take the case of the Hearts example mentioned earlier; had the new and young team made the club's woes worse, there would have been an outcry to bring back the 23 who were put on transfer.

For the Kotoko management therefore, to rush into picking on the playing body and later the technical team means, certain decisions were taken in haste.

Often, it is a combination of factors that have to be identified and rectified. This sometimes take a while and to allow fans to stampede managements into taking hasty and wrong decisions amount to giving up its leadership role.

Coincidentally it is this same fans' pressure that can sometimes point managements' 'nose' to where the real problems are; its absence or its relegation could often have quite negative impact.

Take the case of Feyenoord; it has all the structures, materials and technical abilities for a premier division club.

But the virtual absence of a vociferous supporters pressure group makes its management not to be compelled to redress an open secret of the clubs' weakness — signing on bigger players to replace the current smaller ones.

Of course, with the academy idea behind its existence, supporters' pressure here would not amount to much though it could be a pointer to the recruitment of boys with better physiques.

But for clubs like Kotoko and Hearts, their "must win" policies obscure that of an academy, giving way to the need for a careful balance between yielding, and not yielding to supporters' pressure.

It is the decision to yield to this kind of pressure at the wrong time that has affected Kotoko.

In other words, giving in to the outcry of supporters that led to the exit of the coaches and players have not helped matters.

A fortnight ago, I wrote that should the exit of the nine players not bring victory, Kotoko would be in for a trying time; similarly, Telat Uzum's exit could compound their problems, especially when they have been kicked out of the on-going MTN/CAF Champions League in the first round.

In short, clubs who fall on hard times and tend to rush in finding scapegoats should take time to identify the problem(s) before such far-reaching decision(s) of whether to sack or not to are made.

It is when this is done that a decision to sack players or a coach can be justified in the effort to put up effective corrective measures.