Work on your people skills, chaps

Mamelodi Sundowns should get their house in order and stop taking the media for a ride.

I was off to Chloorkop, Sundowns’ headquarters, on Wednesday afternoon for the launch of the new Nike kit. Not that I was interested in their new kit, but I saw it as an opportunity to speak to the former Bulgaria star, Hristo Stoichkov, who has been appointed as the club’s new coach.

The proceedings started 45 minutes late, with DJ Sbu sharing some lame old jokes and communications manager Alex Shakoane giving a long, boring speech about how the kit would ”help the players perform better”. I don’t know how kit can be so seminal a factor in a team’s performance. Sundowns finished a lowly ninth last season.

Unlike the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs kit launches last week, where all the players and the coaches were available for interviews, only four Sundowns players (Esrom Nyandoro, Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa and Robyn Johannes) attended their kit launch. Stoichkov was standing next to the bathrooms and I was told that he was not speaking to the media. Could the gentleman from Bulgaria not speak English? Was he not confident enough to take questions from the media?

Sundowns executive technical director Ted Dumitru’s explanation was that maybe his temporary work permit restrains him from talking to the media. Strange indeed.

This is not the first time Stoichkov has done this. Sundowns took part in the Mopani District Executive Mayor’s Charity Cup last Sunday in Limpopo and lost 3-0 on penalties to Vodacom League side Dundee United in the first semifinal.

It was reported that Stoichkov refused to speak to the media after the game, and that the entire Sundowns squad got into the team bus and left for Johannesburg before the second semifinal even started.

It seems Stoichkov is developing bad habits in his treatment of the media. It is not surprising that Sundowns are not competing in the MTN 8. The management doesn’t know how to make people feel at home.

Perhaps Stoichkov didn’t know that Chloorkop is close to OR Tambo International Airport and Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe doesn’t like being on the losing side.

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Lucky Sindane
Guest Author

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