When your mobile phone cannot stop ringing, when ‘I just wanted to say hello’ text messages chock your inbox, you just know the Flames, Sulom or FAM jobs are ripe for the picking.
Suddenly, people who are usually unavailable for interviews, have all the time on earth to call a sports reporter for hours on end.
Suddenly, people who pretend not to know you on the street, call, some even from foreign land, to remind you—as if you suffered from drug resistant memory disorders—that you are their buddy.
Well, it is that time again and it cannot be more challenging being a sports journalist.
With many names thrown in the hat for the Flames job, this entry is directed to the mysterious aspirants.
Dear coach, contrary to what some might cheaply propagate; I do not hire or fire Flames coaches as my domain is strictly sports journalism.
Let me hasten that while most in my profession are devoted to truth, there are some elements, sellouts and bad apples with a platform to abuse.
While others are encouraging sports journalists to be analytical, critical, work without fear or favour, these bad eggs will come to feed you lies that Kanjere hates/likes you.
But bear this in mind: Being liked is certainly none of my craving. I never hate or love any football person or institution. I just strive, with my obvious limitations, to do my job.
To give you a clue, you will identify these elements through the manner in which they use the pen to seek favours, their obsession to be liked and to be popular.
But, with my many shortfalls, I am not in this job to win a popularity contest.
These elements will pamper you coach even when they know you are getting it all awfully wrong. But I will always write the truth.
On working relationship with the media, I cannot guarantee anything. Just be certain most reporters will not praise you as the Special One or criticise you as the Worst One because they like you or hate you.
Genuine sports journalism demands acknowledging the good without liking and criticising the bad without hating.
On the pitch, football standards are not up to scratch. Firefighting is fashionable administration model. Meritocracy hardly exists. Talent development is shambolic. Flames preparations are disjointed. Players get peanuts.
Just do not come in and waste time reminding us these obvious challenges.
Briton Stephen Constantine used to say Flames needed 10 players of Peter Mponda’s calibre to deliver the goods, yet his predecessor Kinnah Phiri, with the same bad tools, managed 2010 Nations Cup qualification. That is the spirit.
Coach, by accepting this thankless job, we assume you have a thick skin required for this rough terrain and that you will give it your best shot. No excuses.