English football was dominated by news from London giants Chelsea this week. Hot on the heels of their defeat at the Hawthorns away to tricky West Bromwich Albion, the Blues found themselves at the end of a heavy 3-0 defeat away to the Old Lady of Turin, Juventus, in the Uefa Champions League, keeping their chances of defending the coveted trophy in serious peril.
Within 12 hours of this latest debacle, which meant Roberto di Matteoâ€™s men had won only twice in the last eight matches in all competitions (including a four-game winless streak in the English Premier League), Russian owner Roman Abramovich had seen enough and relieved the Italian coach of his duties, only eight months after being appointed on interim basis.
There are people that expressed surprise at the development, but I did not because this was Abramovichâ€™s eighth managerial change in as many years. The man simply cares about no one else but himself and he will do anything as he wishes, when he feels like it. For a manager who won the team its first Champions League title ever, di Matteo deserved a bit more respect than was shown this time.
Cue Rafa. I personally found the appointment of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as interim manager another 12 hours later quite fascinating. I have never hidden my liking for the Spaniard and always wanted him to land a big job where he can set the record straight regarding his pedigree. In terms of stature, the Chelsea job suits him just fine and I am surprised that some Chelsea fans are not impressed.
I know Rafa sharply divides opinion within the football world, but I do not know a man who has been more harshly judged. He has a record of success that some managers can only dream of, but it is his perceived mistakes that get highlighted. I strongly believe he will do well at Stamford Bridge and silence his critics while earning a longer contract at the end of the season either at Chelsea or elsewhere.
It is not only Chelsea fans that have not been amused by Rafaâ€™s appointment. Some fellow Liverpool fans who share my liking for the manager are less than impressed that he has accepted to go to the London side given the history between the two sides. Seeing him help the Roman Army lift trophies is a sight many of them cannot stand and they somehow feel betrayed by this move.
I hold a totally different view. Rafa has made it clear that he would only work for a club that has a chance to win trophies and that he loves living in England, which is why he has been living in Liverpool all along even during his short stint at Inter Milan. There are very few English clubs that can match his ambitions and I will be very surprised if Chelsea fans are not celebrating at the end of the season.
One person who should be happy with the appointment is striker Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker produced his best football under his compatriot at Liverpool and has failed to sparkle at Chelsea to justify his Â£50 million British record transfer fee. This may be his last chance to rediscover the form that made him the nightmare of most defenders in England and on the continent.
Back home, I wish the Flames all the best in Kampala, Uganda, where they are taking part in this yearâ€™s Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge which starts this afternoon.