Sunday, April 11, 2021

Oliseh’s imperfection in need of refinement?


tiamin rice

What makes the great manager? The rabble-rousing speech before the finals or the carefully thought out and constructed tactical scheme preempting every move of the opponent?

The route or means to the victories or just the hoist of a trophy aloft with a medal dangling on the neck? The answer is not entirely clear as it is subjective.

However assorted a poll of answers to the question whatever makes a good manager might be, there remains a central hub to the answers: on field success.

By that metric, Sunday Oliseh could be checkmarked as a great manager, lifting Fortuna Sittard from the doldrums to their first trophy in 23 years.

But of course, happenings off the field have a weigh in to what constitutes a great manager. For Oliseh’s burgeoning managerial career there lies the dark spot. A brilliant coach with a career pockmarked with off the field imperfections that threatens to torpedo whatever good he’s done on the field.

While he was the Super Eagles coach, Oliseh served a series of off-field troubles. There was the face-off with Vincent Enyeama which led to the goalkeeper’s retirement, an immature tweet to the ‘true’ Naija fans and an incendiary video rant to boot.

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Naturally, managers are with their imperfections as beings. Pep Guardiola could be overbearing as a micromanager; Antonio Conte’s ascetic demands are exhausting; Jurgen Klopp, excessively intense and impractically wild-eyed; Jose Mourinho could be surly, tempestuous and contempt-breeding.

“I take pride in behaving respectfully with my players, the club and myself. It is not my style to defame opponents or referees in pursuit of a psychological gain. I fight with my team on the pitch, nowhere else.” While the words from Carlo Ancelotti’s book Quiet Leadership sets him up as noble, the avuncular Italian still falls short as being overly lax and lacking in discipline.

But perhaps, it is what makes them effective in certain situations, what makes them desired. Conte shakes off listlessness, Ancelotti calms the raging seas of testosterone and egos in dressing rooms, Guardiola nudges players into exploring realms of their talent they thought impossible while Klopp gives great hugs and imbues his players with belief.

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For Jose, master of the dark arts, his words and actions are almost always calculated, premeditated, wanting to elicit an anticipated reaction either from his team or opponents. Forcing a positive response from his players and his management sometimes.

Oliseh’s messy episode with Fortuna Sittard shows he has much to learn; his imperfection spilling poorly and indelibly over the situation: from Sittard’s release stating he had been suspended for the strained relationship between him, the players and the management to his crass response or confirmation. Oliseh’s tweet was not a rebuttal of Sittard’s claims but was an under-thought allegation that he had been suspended for a refusal to violate the law and participate in illegal activities by the foreign owners of the club.

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There probably isn’t a worse way to pry back control of the narrative. This wasn’t grandmaster Oliseh with a well-calculated move as he hit the tweet button, it was more the self-righteous Oliseh terribly lacking in any form of diplomacy. Of course, such serious allegations would spark legal proceedings. Fortuna Sittard released a statement afterwards that the case will be presented to the arbitration committee of the Dutch Football Association.

However the case ends, it is abundantly clear Oliseh should have reported to the relevant authorities any case of illegality that was suggested instead of spilling it on the social media space. A carefully worded press release would have sufficed rather than the poorly punctuated 280 characters on Twitter.

Right now, the narrative is that Oliseh is a self-righteous rebel who revels in a war of attrition against his employers.

His next employers certainly will consider his imperfection noteworthy and hopefully his imperfection will have had some refinement.

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