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Coaches' moment in time

Opinions / Analysis

THERE is always a positive to take from football - even in the face of adversity.

The best coaches remain positive when dealing with defeat and are always looking for opportunities and challenges.

The two coaches who stood the test of time are Suva’s Babs Khan and Navua’s Saiyad Ali.

The 2022 Inter District Championship has proved it.

Babs Nadi fallout

Babs, who successfully guided Suva’s IDC win against Navua was seen as a failure during his short stint with Nadi.

The fallout came after the district’s 2017, Fiji Fact final 1-0 loss to Rewa.

The establishment doubted Babs coaching traits and was not considered for the 2018 season.

Moment in time

Babs patiently waited for his moment in time and when opportunity served, he took it with open arms.

He succeeded Kamal Swamy, who was coach in 2020.

Babs has since become a runoff, legendary Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson’s cliché’ ‘watch me go' fits his profile.

Ferguson spent all his playing career in Scotland, first went into management with East Stirlingshire in 1974 before joining St Mirren in the same year.

He joined Manchester United in the 1986-87 season and turned it around.

After a few years, on questions on his progress he said ‘watch me go’

There he left behind a plethora of memories of his time at the helm.

Babs may never become a footballing knighthood, but his coaching has been praised from every footballing spectrum.

And in the 3 years he has been Suva coach he won the Fiji FACT, (2020-2022), Digicel Premier League (2020), and the 2022, IDC.

He is a special coach as on every loss he takes full responsibility and following wins, he praises hard work of the coaching staff and the players.

Ali- home is where the heart is

Saiyad Ali, the Navua head coach is special for a low budget district, for he made do with players who would otherwise not get a crack in the best eleven with other districts.

The USA resident pounced on the opportunity to help his former district.

He took criticism when the team was being beaten in the Digicel Premier League, but he remains steadfast.

Big change

Ali’s methodology, personality, man-management, and mental attitude turned the team during the Battle of the Giants, as they gave big name teams a run for their expensive payroll.

The run up to the IDC was on the back of a good outing during the BOG.

He did not shy away from owing up to the 4-0 IDC final loss.

“The Suva was a better team, they played with confidence,” Ali admitted.

Navua made it to the final after a lapse of 13 years, last time they won the championship was in 2009, with a 2-0 win against Lautoka at Price Charles Park.

What Ali and Navua did, teams like Lautoka, Ba, Nadi, Labasa and Rewa failed and that is to rise up to the occasion and play in the grand finale.

Best coaches

The two coaches are clear on giving a team talk, delivering constructive feedback, or talking tactics and have excellent communications skills that are essential.

They have adapted the two-way communication, the player they are communicating with, and hearing out a player.

Their method of communication employs and gets the point across without having a negative impact on morale or motivation.

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