Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
3 minute read
14 May 2022
8:00 am

Ncikazi needs to watch his words – he’s damaging his Pirates legacy

Sibongiseni Gumbi

If he gets wrong - like he has so far - it might spell an end for him.

Mandla Ncikazi blundered by indirectly insulting his own players. Picture: Abbas Farda/BackpagePix.

Annoyance. This is easily described as a feeling of being irritated by somebody or something. I am no school teacher but I thought I should first describe this word because that is what I am going to be to some of you and especially 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 advising him – of course it was unsolicited so that was annoying on its own. He read that one too.

But I am about to advise him again, and I will keep doing it until he is annoyed enough to listen to me and perhaps do the right thing. 

Ncikazi is a good coach who has earned his stripes in the job. He started from the bottom and now he is at the top, where I truly believe he deserves to be. The fact that he also played the game at professional level should be helping him. 

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

I thought of writing him an open letter, but I felt that would be too personal and others who stand to 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 enemies. He is already a persona non grata among some of the Pirates fans. And the sad part is that that is not because he is doing a bad job, but because of the things he says. 

I said before that he needs to shy away from ‘Komphelarisms’ because it can either make or break him. It could make him if he gets it really right like it has its originator Steve Komphela. 

But, if he gets wrong – like he has so far – it might spell an end for him. It has already made him come out as a person who’s thinking processes get stuck at 99%. 

He made a valid point recently when asked how Mamelodi Sundowns’ spiralling dominance can be stopped. He said the PSL should consider capping their spending. 

But he did not stop there, he had to be a Komphela and use analogies to give his view some impetus and that is where it went south. The main point he was making got lost in the analogy he used. 

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

But the worst part of it is that he was unintentionally demeaning his own players at Orlando Pirates by suggesting that by standards, they don’t fit in with the Sundowns crop. 

And Rulani Mokwena did not miss the opportunity to rub salt into the wound for Ncikazi by highlighting this point. Ncikazi has done what any decent human does when they are wrong – apologised. 

But I take his apology with a pinch of salt because he said, “I am sorry, but…” He then went on suggesting that Mokwena has something personal against him and Orlando Pirates and blah blah blah. That is not manly. You bafo are from rural KZN and you and I know a man stands up for himself, and owns up to his mistakes without passing the blame elsewhere. My advice is, keep it simple and don’t try to sound intelligent because perhaps the people you are addressing are not there for the intelligence, but for the performance – in all essences and meanings of the word.