Soccer scene: Mpengesi’s logic-defying actions put the league into disrepute

Johannesburg – “Luc has been fired again”, ingeniously screamed the poster of a Joburg daily in a week of high drama at Chippa United following the axing of Belgian national Luc Eymael as the technical director at the Gqeberha-based club.

“I’m not afraid of Danny Jordaan”, Chippa boss Siviwe Mpengesi retorted when warned not to act like an idiot because the repercussions he would face were dire if he adamantly went ahead and hired Eymael, a man accused of making racist utterances while with Tanzanian side Young Africans, popularly known as Yanga, last year.

No, Mpengsi wanted to have it his way.

Last July, the controversial former Free State Stars and Black Leopards coach was sacked at Yanga after his widely circulated rant in which he described the club’s fans as “uneducated” and “dogs and monkeys”.

His bile spewing landed him in hot water with the authorities in that country.

At Yanga, Eymael, who demanded five-star hotel living conditions, with satellite TV, described some of the pitches in that country as “standard of seventh and eighth division facilities in Europe”.

He grumbled about not being provided with a car and Wi- Fi facilities. Despite his public apology, Yanga sacked him, terminating his contract with immediate effect.

But no, Mpengesi wanted the man in his employ at Chippa, come hell or high water, and bullishly unveiled him on Tuesday, but alas only for 24 hours, then bowed to pressure and released Eymael from whatever contract.

Even Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) had mooted the idea of hiring the coach and had already brought him into the country, but thanks to the enraged TTM players who voiced their dissatisfaction with the decision to employ the ill-tempered coach, who left both Stars and Leopards under a cloud, he was not hired. You might ask yourself what kind of man is Mpengesi, who cheekily defies the national association Safa, after it publicly denounced the hiring of Eymael in any capacity in the country.

The belligerent Mpengesi also spurned the very provincial and local governments that back his club financially, daring political organisations that have been vocal against the employment of the Belgian by vehemently standing his ground, saying he will not be dictated to.

Intransigent Mpengesi might have the powers to hire and fire coaches at will, the latest being the revered Dan “Dance” Malesela for the umpteenth (read fifth) time, however, the tables were turned against him.

He had to bow to public pressure. Eventually he couldn’t bear the heat and reluctantly released Eymael a day after being unveiled. Did Mpengesi really believe the racist and offensive remarks played and replayed on social media, and available on websites, had fallen from the sky? Hiding behind his little knowledge to express himself in English, as he is French-speaking, Eymael confidently asserts that the voice recordings had been doctored.

Well, is that what he told Mpengesi when he convinced him to employ him? Eymael might have fooled Mpengesi but not South Africans and Africans, who have been up in arms on social media, questioning the decision behind the contentious move.

Since his pathetic decision had backfired, the shameless Mpengesi is now frantically searching for scapegoats and targeting the media after tarnishing the PSL club’s name and putting the league into disrepute.

Xolile Mtshazo

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