Thembinkosi Sekgaphane
Phakaaathi Digital Administrator
3 minute read
17 Oct 2018
12:32 pm

Former Chiefs and Sundowns striker slams negativity in PSL

Thembinkosi Sekgaphane

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi sundowns striker Kenny Niemach says teams' style of play has a lot to do with the lack of goals in South African football.

Kenny Niemach (Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Strikers are often criticised for not scoring, which has led to clubs dropping points in games that they should have won.

“I think the way the coaches set up their stall, and because football now is big business, losing a game could cost you your job. All teams’ first point of call is to not lose – so in other words, coaches become defensive. Before they can think of scoring goals, they think ‘how do I defend?’ So the mind registers the game on a negative note. Previously you would have a 4-4-2, now one striker is doesn’t say you are a better (or worse) striker but the game doesn’t afford you the opportunity to score more,” said Niemach.

Niemach worked as a football analyst and radio presenter for 15 years, before starting his e-hailing taxi service called Biza Rides, Niemach has always been involved in business since his days when he turned defenders inside-out. He owned a night- club, pub and pool bar and a restaurant when he was a player.

A born winner, Niemach stopped working on TV and radio to focus on building a company he hopes will revolutionise the local transport system. Niemach believes physically he could have played until he was 40, but says mentally he was drained and went in search of a new challenge outside the game. Niemach says his humble beginnings, the right attitude and the willingness to work kept him from losing himself when he became a household name in South African football.

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He sees life as a chain of events, and says it is important to be conscious of your actions and the results accompanied by these decisions.

“One opportunity always creates another when you succeed at it. I want to bring the sort of change we expect and to empower people. Then our job is done, especially with the next generation of players. When you approach something with the right attitude, you will get the desired outcome. I understood that back then people had a sense of entitlement, but there isn’t such a thing, if you don’t work for it then no one is going to give it to you. Just get rid of bad habits, you are a role model people pay money to come and see you, so prioritise, you represent the game of football – set a standard, how you carry yourself is important.”

Niemach would like to see the current generation of players revive the entertainment element in football. Niemach says his peers had a natural preparation for the game, playing football in informal environments, which made them tough mentally and physically.

“I think the national team coaches need to look at players in the second tier to hopefully unearth a gem, and then maybe these ones that consider themselves superstars might pull their fingers out and perform.

“Another thing, players need to express themselves, I like (Sibusiso) Vilakazi and (Percy) Tau because they understand they are in the game of entertainment, that is what the game is about. More of our players need to understand they are also entertainers and if they do that the game will once against come alive and people will come and watch them.

“Most players lack charisma, they don’t present themselves. They need to start doing that and people will start watching them, but I like Tau and Vilakazi because they try anything they want without fear or hesitation.”


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