Surely we must draw a line somewhere when it comes to Chippa United.
I’ve lost all faith in Siviwe Mpengesi as an owner of a professional football club.
I caught his interview on Umhlobo Wenene’s popular breakfast show on Tuesday where he justified his reasons for wanting to appoint Belgian coach Luc Eymael.
This is a man who was sacked in Tanzania after calling the fans of Young Africans SC, where he was in charge, “dogs and monkeys”.
I’ve personally experienced Eymael at work at many press conferences. He has that old European “I’m your saviour” vibe about him.
I wasn’t surprised when Steve Komphela accused him of being “arrogant and disrespectful” because that’s the vibe I got as well when I saw his interaction with the media.
Komphela said this after their post-match interaction while he was in charge of Golden Arrows and Eymael was the coach of Free State Stars at the time.
When he concluded the interview on the breakfast show, Mpengesi said: “That’s why we’re not politicians. We must keep politics out of football”.
He said this because he doesn’t want issues with the Belgian’s application for a work permit.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that Mpengensi has no clue what he’s doing with the Gqeberha-based football club.
If you look at Chippa’s club history, you don’t have to dig too deep to see that they have hired over 20 coaches.
It’s a little complicated with them, though, because some of these coaches were hired as “interim” or “caretaker” coaches and a couple of them were hired more than once by the club.
And this club has only been in the league for 10 years. A volle 20 coaches ouens? Sounds like a skit from a comedy show right?
Maybe the people who said that he was clueless weren’t too far from the truth or kanjani?
Can you believe that he went on national radio and suggested that people must ignore that the man he wants to hire as a coach said these nasty words to fans in another African country?
When racism is a serious and hot topic, this ou says “keep politics out of football”. Is he serious?
At a time when Africa is talking about “unity” under the leadership of a fellow South African, Mpengesi has chosen to take the decision to hire a man who insulted our Tanzanian brothers?
At 44 years old, I would have expected that he be aware of the history of this very country and racist use of words like “dogs and monkeys”.
Maybe he didn’t feel racism as much where he’s from in Ngqamakwe in the Eastern Cape before he moved here as an enthusiastic young adult when Apartheid was over.
Maybe he doesn’t relate to the pain people feel when such words are used or he’s just as people say; clueless about the realities of football and its importance in nation building.
Football has been at the heart of keeping things calm as we transitioned to a democracy.
The reality is that every person of colour was ready to take up arms and bum-rush at the word “go”, but thanks to Nelson Mandela and football that hasn’t happened.
So why would Mpengesi bring this energy to the very game that has helped most of us heal?
Safa have taken their stance but admitted that their hands are tied because they can’t deny people work, that is the role of the government to issue work permits.
Don’t be surprised when Eymael calls Mpengesi “stupid” after he fires him from his club. He mustn’t come crying back for support from “dogs and monkeys”.