In July 2012, I set out on a journey to Dar es salaam’s Chamazi area, the home of Azam FC after I had earlier visited the club towards the end of May the same year. This was part of a series of follow ups on the progress of the former Kenyan international striker George “BlackBerry” Odhiambo, who had been offered a chance to, “love the game again” by the then Azam FC coach. Odhiambo had experienced a not-so-rossy stint with Randers FC in Denmark and Al Shirack in the Armenian league. I’m about to quote what the coach said, though I can’t quite remember what exactly prompted his sentiments, maybe budgets and expenditures for a club or something of that sort.
We somehow ended up deviating from the main topic to a totally new gossip item, coach Stewart Hall’s short stay at Kenya’s SOFAPAKA FC. There was so much juice to talk about that if I would a totally new piece just to exhaust – but what has since then remained on the top shelf of my brain, is how the coach summarised his immediate former employer in one paragraph by saying, and I quote; “I love projects, not jobs, and SOFAPAKA seemed like a great idea, very ambitious, with good dreams – until I landed there and it appeared to me like some Manchester United operating on a Wigan’s budget…”
Thinking through that statement, made me feel like a hammer was pounding inside my head, or a heavy blow had just landed on my nose; I didn’t get much of the meat in the statement by the former Birmingham city academy coach on that day until later…
Anyway, it’s 2016 February, back to Kenya, the Sportpesa Premier League is the destination. By now, all of us are aware of Gor Mahia’s coach Frank Nuttal’s brief letter to the press dated 4th February, 2016 on the executive committee terminating his contract despite having one year left on it.
On sensing the office’s ploy to want to, either get rid of him, or subdue him through a ‘forced’ pay-cut, he decided to pull a fast one that caught Ambrose Rachier and his office napping, they were left with little to do in terms of damage control.
Nuttal must have read the American author, Daniel Goleman’s quote that says; “The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.”
Being a clever man that he is, he had his script well written; he knew he had a record to support his demands and a strong army of fans who love his work behind him; There’s no way the office would win this however genuine their reasons might sound today or even tomorrow.
Gor Mahia fans are known countrywide as a passionate lot that rarely takes nonsense from anyone trying to mess around with their only source of pride; the passion can sometimes blind though, and in this case, Rachier and his partners in this ‘crime’ have sadly lost the case already.
The fans are still recovering from the realities of losing their lethal attack force of Meddie Kagere and Michael Olunga, marksmen who hit the target more than 60 times amongst them last season. Adding salt to an open ulcer, Jacques Tuyisenge the “four million signing” joined the side with an injury from the CHAN championships, and will therefore be out until the team doctor gives a nod.
Losing a coach who not only did win them two league titles in a row, but did triumph in the last one unbeaten therefore, is the last thing the passionate army in green would want to hear of. Already as at midnight, there was a night vigil, with ‘bonfires’ lit all over the different social platforms demanding for Nuttal’s reinstatement;
“Gidwoknwa Nuttal, nono to lepo!” Even with clearance from the council of elders, I wouldn’t translate the above expressions, just to keep the local flavour! You’ll have to befriend your gloomy Luo speaking friend, buy them one for the road to liven up their gloomy “Furahiday”. As things stand, Nuttal has won the war and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his job back, but there is a battle to fight, because underneath the veneer of his triumph must be bad blood spilt all over.
While the Scot will be happy, chances are that office shall be unhappy, as well as the other members of the technical bench – and to some extent the playing unit, some of whom had requested or might now press for an improvement on their terms and conditions of service. Things will even thicken more if at all any of the other members’ demands were casually turned down for lack of support and the kind of goodwill the head coach is currently enjoying. Cohesion could easily become a hard to come by weed sought by everyone in the whole unit, where he only needed to be a leader, he shall now be forced to be a supervisor like the management consultant and trainer, Rus Slater’s work in “People management Secrets” says.
Sluter talks about how even when aggrieved, your subjects can easily be reduced into result producers yes but – “…only when caught like a rat in the trap!” This is the beginning of dissent, and nitpicking because everyone shall be having each other by the balls. This needs to be dealt with ‘antiseptically’ although whichever way it goes, with the smell of sponsorship money in the house, rest assured that an even bigger storm is brewing.