Head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Jean-Paul Akono has only himself to blame if his boss, the Minister of Sports, Adoum Garoua snubbed him to search for a big name to take his post. Appointed as an interim coach to take the prestigious post after Frenchman, Denis Lavagne was sacked; it was a golden opportunity for Akono to embrace with open hands after being in the doldrums of job hunt for donkey years.
Although Akono has the technical expertise and many accolades including an Olympic gold medal under his belts, there was no guarantee that he was going to put the struggling Indomitable Lions back on the glory trail. With jobs hard to get, recruiters today are interested in results and not CVs or past glories. Thus, having been in the same position several times before, Akono would have known better than anyone else that he is just a local hero and coach, but is lucky to be offered a job often reserved for foreigners.
Asking a gross monthly salary and trying to be tough at a time when everyone is trying to cut costs to stay afloat with this incessant hardship was enough signal to tell Adoum Garoua that he was not serious about the job he has just been put on probation. With Akono comparing himself with foreign coaches by putting his salary high, he was just ridiculing his status of a respected coach. Foreigners are coming in from countries where costs of living are generally high and leaving families and friends behind to work abroad these coaches must be able to earn enough to sustain their families back home.
Even living in a luxurious villa in Yaoundé, Cameroon and spending virtually nothing as comparable to people abroad, Akono, a civil servant now wants to earn a salary of CFA 15 million a month, higher than that of the president of Cameroon. That demand alone is not just being greedy on his part, but trying to tempt the Minster of Sports who is not even on such a salary or has a dream of earning that big.
Fire-fighters don’t complain
In any case, Akono has a right to set his own salary to sign his contract, however being called in to play the role of a fire-fighter, interim coach, he must act both tactically and intelligently to stay permanently. Fire-fighters are only needed when there is a fire, and once the fire is extinguished nobody bothers about what they do after the incident.
For Akono to interpret the advertisement of his post as an official sacking is like running than his own personal pace. The minister might be fulfilling a bureaucratic rule, which says that once one person is dismissed or sacked or has resigned that vacancy must be advertised even if it has already been offered to someone. As a senior civil servant, Akono should not be surprised if that is the case here. Once one goes for an interview, the next step is to patiently wait for that call or mail saying that you have been successful or refused the job, but that doesn’t stop you from calling the recruiter to ask about the fate of the interview. The recruiter has the right to search for someone else even if you have signed a contract or not, but you need to wait for that dismissal letter to ask for compensation or payment for bridge of contract or to take legal action.
Akono should apply for the post like anyone else if he is still interested and wait to be called and not to go instead to the media to belittle himself. Pride would not offer him the job but a realistic attitude as to why he must be maintained there. It’s true that times have changed, and football management has also evolved, but hardship has forced everyone to save for the raining days. Big clubs in Europe are cutting expensive salaries of players as well as that of coaching staff to stay in the business. Some players are today offering to play for free to keep their clubs from falling into administration. Akono needs to think twice before asking for too much.