June 25, 2018


C’est la vie, Monsieur Eymael…


THAPELO-MOLEBATSIThe verdict that we’ve all been waiting for on the nasty Bloemfontein Celtic-Polokwane City tug-of-war over the services of Belgian coach Luc Eymael, has finally come and passed. Like in any other battle, there’s a winner and loser. We have soccer fans who are happy (City) and those who feel hard-done by the outcome of this case (Celtic).

I am no expert in these matters and I have no intention of presenting myself as one, but the truth is soccer fans don’t always need to be experts contract law to discern whether something is right or wrong; and this is one of those cases that require simple logic.

Yes, I am well aware that this is not a matter of yes and no; it’s far more ‘complicated’ than that.

Let’s not beat around the bush, the Belgium-born coach doesn’t want to work for Polokwane City anymore. That is not my opinion, it’s a straightforward fact. As a matter of fact, millions of South African football lovers are well aware of it, including his former employers.

Yes, the PSL has, after a 100 and something years, finally reached a decision on this matter and have explicitly stated that Eymael should return to his former club, leaving Celtic with egg on their face after appointing the master tactician as head coach on a two-year contract only to have the decision go against their wishes (and plans).

Fair and fine, the decision was taken on the basis of the rules and regulations, which I cannot argue about. However, I find it rather weird that a team or any company for that matter would seek to forcefully retain an employee who no longer has the desire and will to work for them.

This is unheard of and I certainly don’t get how a professional team can be so hell-bent on having this happen. Unless of course I’m missing something here.

By all means, if you know what that is, point it out to me because I don’t bloody get it!

Penning this column down, I remember a discussion I had with a friend of mine Christopher Choane upon the appointment of Luc Eymael as new Celtic boss. In that discussion, Choane mentioned that City would not take the matter lying down. I’ll be honest, I rubbished his views, or rather opinion.

Call me stupid but this is equates to forcefully demanding your ex-girlfriend to love and be with you when you know very clear that she no longer wants to be with you.

To be frank, this is not on and it needs to be said. We must refrain from hiding behind injudicious technicalities and apply simple common sense.

We all saw what happened when Celtic played Polokwane and how Eymael was nearly roughed up by the same delinquents demanding his return to the club when he wanted to speak to his boys during half time. During that incident, I certainly don’t recall officials from City rushing in to calm the situation. In fact, they did the exact opposite.

And the same PSL that’s ordering him to return to his former club, condemned the behaviour and ruled in his favour. Two months down the line they are telling the very same man who was nearly beaten up, to go back and smoke the peace pipe with the arrogant Johnny Mogaladi.

Am I the only one who finds this decision a little bit queer? Come on! How stupid can one be? Are they seriously expecting this man to pick up where he left off?

And in the midst of all this, Celtic is beginning to feel the strain of not having a permanent coach on the bench to give proper guidance to the team during these tough times. Let’s be honest, text messages can only do so much.

Matter of fact, MTN is the only one benefiting from this process, thanks to those hundreds of text that Eymael sends to assistant coach Lehlohonolo Seema throughout the entire 90 minutes, which do not seem to be yielding the desired results, hence they remain relegation contenders.

This act of pettiness on City’s part is shameful, to say the least. And as for the PSL to deliberately overlook the tense situation between the two parties (Luc and his former employers), it’s in my view just as shameful if not worse.

In the meantime, life does not stop – it has to go on.

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