GAME ON! with CHAPADONGO LUNGU
WEDSON Nyirenda has reportedly packed his bags, jumped on a bike and disappeared from the Arakan Barracks radar, a move that has certainly caught soldiers off-guard.
Green Buffaloes Football Club entrusted Nyirenda with the responsibility of reviving the once glamorous side and, considering his credentials, one comes to a conclusion that he was the right man for the job.
But Nyirenda is said to have unceremoniously ditched the side that met him at his point of need â€“ when he was jobless â€“ barely eight games into the new Super Division season.
For those like me that have known Nyirenda as a man of consummate principles; someone whose moral high ground is beyond reproach, itâ€™s hard to believe he has ditched Buffaloes in a manner that negates what he stands for.
Folks, pardon me for still believing that this connoisseur of a coach is somewhere at Woodlands Stadium and corporals would find him if they searched hard enough. The search should focus on the dugout, terraces, dressing room or even the gents.
They can extend the search to Independence Stadium but, on a serious note, there is no doubt that Nyirenda is one of the best coaches around, perhaps the best candidate for the national team job.
He is a disciplinarian and has the personality and tactical shrewdness required of a coach at national level. He is a multiple title winner as can be attested by Zanaco and Zesco United football clubs.
But if it is true that he has trekked to Mozambique on a mission that did not have the full blessings of his employers, then he has portrayed the side I may not have known about him.
I do not know circumstances that led to his departure though such an action smacks of depravity and lack of principles, and takes a lot away from the profession that has been crying for respect and recognition in Zambia.
If Nyirenda spotted greener pasture away from Buffaloes, somewhere near the shores of the Indian Ocean, he should simply have approached his employers and explained to the situation. There is no way Zambia Army – owners of Buffaloes – would have denied him his wish.
These are rational people who would not stand in the way of a man aspiring for greater achievement. Coaching, as everyone probably knows, is a journeymanâ€™s job and permanence is, therefore, not guaranteed.
Coaches are expected to leave their jobs either by mutual consent or by getting fired or hired by another club. Thatâ€™s normal in football.
But there should always be courtesy by informing the other party so that they prepare themselves and avoid disruptions. The danger of walking away in that manner is that you may need the same club someday and goodwill may not be extended to you.
In the course of their duty, coaches usually walk on a very delicate bridge across a proverbial crocodile-infested river. Nyirenda has crossed the bridge and destroyed it, which is not wise.
When Patrick Phiri was leaving Buffaloes to take up some technical position for the Namibia national team last season, he sought the clubâ€™s blessings and the Zambia Army dutifully obliged.
That was an expression of not only gratitude but maturity on his part. If, in his coaching career, he chooses to return to the club, he will be welcomed.
If these gaffers want to earn the respect they have been crying for for a long time, they have to be professional in their dealings. Peter Kaumba appears quite in my book of coaches who are very professional.
Nyirenda should have given the standard one month notice before going to Mozambique no matter how attractive or urgent the deal may have seemed.
Quite understandably, his stay at Buffaloes was almost a disaster as he only won two games from a possible eight. One of the losses he suffered was against his former protÃ©gÃ© Numba Mumamba, who now trains Zanaco.
In Jose Mourinho-style, Numba left the pitch when Zanaco were leading 2-0 with only a minute of play left. Just as he was opening the door to the dressing room, his team scored the third goal in the 3-0 annihilation of Buffaloes.
Maybe Nyirenda could not take such humiliation and decided to throw in the towel by way of crossing to a league he feels he can dominate. But my assessment of Buffaloes is that the team needs some injection of real talent and fresh blood.
Some of the players I watched at Buffaloes last week were at their peak in 2004 and are possibly using the team as a rehabilitation centre, which should not be the case.
So, it was not Nyirendaâ€™s fault that they were losing. There is little that can be done to improve Buffaloes with the current crop of players even if an army general was hired to drill them. The team needs an overhaul and I am sure the command would be glad to help out with resources.
Nyirenda was not the cause of the teamâ€™s poor performance. The teamâ€™s own historical burden is too heavy to carry anymore.
I hope his move was nothing but a hoax and I am expecting to see him on the next flight from Mozambique, probably a Boeing 777. Good luck Buffaloes.
GAME ON! with CHAPADONGO LUNGU