Time to give Bright Stars head coach room to deliver

Time to give Bright Stars head coach room to deliver
SSFA President Augustino Maduot (L) and new head coach Stefano Cusin (photo credit: Alex Bullen/The City Review)

On Tuesday, South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) signed Italian coach Stefano Cusin as Bright Stars’ new manager on a two-year contract to revive the sparks of the national team.

Mr. Cusin will head the South Sudan men’s national football team until 2023. Cusin—who is an Italian football manager and a former player—comes with a rich background of experience having served under various federations.

He had served as a coach in France, Italy, Bulgaria, England, Cameroon, Congo and Libya,  Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

He was most recently the assistant manager of English Premier League (EPL) outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers before signing up as a coach of Shahr Khodro in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

With this great experience under his belt, the Bright Stars are likely to have significant performance improvement if he gets everything right.

Despite the significant improvement the team has had in the last competition for the African Cup of Nations qualification, there is still much more room for improvement from the previous year.

There have been challenges of late preparation due to financial constraints, not to mention the inferences the previous coaches have had to tolerate from some former FA officials. 

Merry-go-round

In 2019, the Bright Stars ended the African Cup of Nations 2019 qualifiers in misery as they failed to pick a single point from six games.

They conceded 18 goals and only scored two. The team had all six qualifying matches played under three different coaches. Bilal Felix Komoyange started the contract by taking the team to Burundi, losing 3-0 in Bujumbura.

The former Kator FC head coach then prepared the way for Algerian German-born Ait Abdumalek who only lasted three months at the helm. The team lost at home to Mali under Abdumalek’s guidance and defeat forced him to resign as he claimed that there was interference in his job from FA officials. 

Internal interference has been the main reason that many coaches flag as their greatest impediment to delivery. This has caused the Bright Stars precious points which would have allowed the team to progress in regional tournaments.

The coach should be allowed to have independence in making his decisions particularly in selecting players that he thinks can deliver in his game plan. Any interference in the coach’s job can jeopardize everything and cause him to be punished by the opponent. 

Apart from signing a new head coach, the president of SSFA Augustino Maduot Parek has a huge task ahead of him to ensure that Mr. Cusin is given the maximum freedom to choose his first 11 players to achieve his dream.

The new administration needs to change failures in the Bright Stars men’s football team by ensuring that the head coach is given the necessary support to improve.

The basketball national team has been performing very well and this is because the coach and the official from the basketball federation are not interfering in each other jobs.

The new administration of SSFA should not tolerate the officials who often interfere with the selection of players.

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