Ncikazi needs to watch his words



announcement. This is easily described as a feeling of being irritated by someone or something. I am not a school teacher, but I thought I should describe this word first because it is what I will be for some of you and especially for my good old friend Mandla Ncikazi, the Orlando Pirates interim co-coach.

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I know you read the last column I wrote where I was recommending it – obviously it wasn’t required, so it was annoying in and of itself. He read that too.

But I am going to recommend it again, and I will continue to do so until enough is announced to listen to me and maybe do the right thing.

Ncikazi is a good coach who has earned his marks in the job. He started from the bottom and is now at the top, where I really believe he deserves to be. The fact that he also played professionally should help him.

My problem with him today, however, is the same bone of contention I had with him the last time I wrote about him.

I thought about writing him an open letter, but felt it would be too personal and others who will benefit from this advice may just ignore it because it is directed at someone specifically.

You see, Ncikazi has been embroiled in a controversy that now has the potential to make him the enemy. He is already a persona non grata among some of the Pirate fans. And the sad part is, it’s not because he’s doing a bad job, but because of the things he says.

I said earlier that he needs to shy away from ‘Komphelarisms’ because they can create or destroy it. It could make it if it does it really well like its creator Steve Komphela has.

But if he’s wrong – as he has done so far – it could mean the end for him. He has already made him stand out as a person who thinks that processes are 99% deadlocked.

He made a valid point recently when asked how to stop Mamelodi Sundowns’ dizzying dominance. He said the PSL should consider limiting its spending.

But it didn’t stop there, he had to be a Komphela and use analogies to give impetus to his point of view and that’s where he went south. The main point he was making was lost in the analogy he used.

He talked about how the Sundowns were shopping at Woolworths while Pirates and other clubs were being forced to shop at Pick n Pay and Spar. This analogy was wrong on all levels because by South African standards, people who shop from Pick n Pay and Spar are considered elite. The masses shop at “My Friend,” aka local Spaza stores owned by foreign nationals.

But the worst part is that he was unwittingly belittling his own players to the Orlando Pirates by suggesting that by standards they don’t fit the Sundowns crop.

And Rulani Mokwena did not miss the chance to rub salt into Ncikazi’s wound by emphasizing this point. Ncikazi did what any decent human does when he’s wrong – he apologized.

But I take his apology with a grain of salt because he said, “I’m sorry, but …” He then went on to suggest that Mokwena has something personal against him and the Orlando Pirates and blah blah blah. This is not manly. You bafo come from the rural areas of KZN and you and I know that a man defends himself and admits his mistakes without putting the blame elsewhere. My advice is to keep it simple and don’t try to sound smart because maybe the people you’re targeting aren’t there for the intelligence, but for the performance – in all the essences and meanings of the word.