Don't fight your boss, you won't win

JOHANNESBURG - One thing I have learnt over the years is that you cannot win a war against your boss.

In fact, the cardinal rule is never to fight your boss because there can only be one winner.

It is one rule which I have observed and followed religiously.

I have also tried to instil this philosophy to up and coming youngsters who, driven by desire to leave a lasting impression, want to take on everything in their path, including those they report to.

But I will repeat it again; don’t fight your boss because you will come out second best.

Last Saturday, something perplexing happened at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane here in Mzansi.

After Bafana Bafana had pulled off an inspiring 2-1 win over highly-fancied Senegal in a Fifa World Cup qualifier, South African Football Association (Safa) leadership poured onto the pitch to congratulate coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba and his boys for a sterling job.

But in a fit of rage mirroring that of a bull in a China shop, Mashaba lost the plot and went on a tirade against his bosses and all Safa employees at the stadium, reminding them of how they had not supported him on the way. In fact, he bizarrely accused them of trying to sabotage his mission.

The temperamental coach, known for his running battles with the media went on an uncontrollable rant such that the South African Broadcasting Corporation had to delay a live broadcast until he had cooled down.

The fracas continued long after the game and even the post-match press conference had to be delayed for more than an hour as he went on a tirade.

A day later, Mashaba was stopped from boarding a plane to Mozambique by his bosses, citing his behaviour the previous day as one of the reasons why he was facing instant suspension.

His relationship with the media and certain utterances rubbishing his bosses were also cited as part of the charge sheet that he will have to answer in coming days.

While it is too early to pre-empt the outcome, sources close to the Association say Mashaba’s days as the Bafana Bafana mentor are numbered.

They cite his behaviour in the past and that Saturday’s actions was the final straw in which he completely overstepped the mark. How can one accuse an employer of lacking support? Where do you draw the line for such an accusation?

For starters, Mashaba is one of the most well-paid coaches on the continent and unlike stories we hear in other African countries, he gets his half-a-million Rand monthly salary on time and without failure.

He has several other perks hardly enjoyed by his counterparts on the continent.

By virtue of its infrastructure and economic might, there is a belief that Bafana Bafana must dominate the game on the continent.

The fact that they failed to win a single game in the 2015 Afcon finals in Equatorial Guinea and now failed to qualify for the same games in Gabon in 2017 but didn’t get a boot speaks volumes of the faith and support his bosses have in him.

So what more support is Mashaba talking about?

This is not the first time Mashaba has had running battles with his employers.

A few years back, he was dismissed as Bafana Bafana coach after he told his bosses where to get off.

It seems the stocky mentor has not learnt his lesson and is intent on dying with his boots on like a soldier.

It looks though this time he might have swallowed more than he could chew and might face the music he detests listening to.

He has brought this to himself if he ultimately walks the plank.

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