It is now a month since Azam Tigers’ outspoken coach Leo Mpulula, after a three-game losing streak, decided to exercise his right guaranteed in the Malawi Constitution to give the domestic sports media a blackout.
Since then, Leo has been sending my colleagues text messages, saying he would lift the ban only after my apology for the remarks I made on Radio 2 FM’s Midweek Sports Programme recently that the Tigers’ coach should not “talk too much”.
It was my opinion that, having resigned at Tigers only to change his mind on joining Civo United after listening to some radio debate, Leo needed to be more decisive and concentrate on winning his first-ever silverware as Super League coach.
“I hope now things will be OK with me since I have taken your advice which you said that I should not talk too much. As you said football is not about talking but results. Thanks very much, I will maintain this up to the end of the season,” Leo, sent me this text message, badly needing editing, on December 7 2012 from Zambia where he presided over Malawi Under-17’s Cosafa Cup failure.
He also sent MBC sports journalist Frank Kandu a text message reading: “..my decision to stop talking to the media has been done in good faith because last time in your midweek programme with Peter Kanjere, when I reversed my decision not to go to Civo, Peter Kanjere said Leo should not talk too much, football is not about talking but results that is why I respected his words not to talk any more until the end of the season…”
From his badly punctuated text messages, it is clear that Leo exaggerates his importance in coaching; he thinks he is at the same level with Sir Alex Ferguson.
It is clear that Leo cannot tell the difference between not talking too much and a complete blackout.
Leo is also failing to appreciate that my opinion, though substantiated, does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire media.
It is clear that Leo misses the media and not the other way round.
Leo may wish to know that during his blackout, the sports media has not suffered chronic starvation for news.
During his blackout, which he may wish to extend until the end of the world, the media has been busy chronicling how coach Derklerk Msakakuona has transformed modest Blue Eagles into Carlsberg Cup champions.
Leo may wish to learn that while he is exercising his right to silence, his Blantyre United successor Elia Kananji has polished the team into genuine TNM Super League championship contenders.
It seems, having fired most senior players at Tigers with no sign of improved displays, Leo now wants his next scapegoat.
The Tigers coach may wish to know that Young Chimodzi, his coaching role model, takes criticism and silences his critics with results.
Media blackouts have never been catalysts for silverware.