Modern football has grown to include statistical analysis, sophisticated computer softwares technologies are used to plan and approach games. This modern set of technological resources help the coaches and the rest of the technical department to review their match strategies and plans. But, surprisingly, the local association finds no importance in utilising the services of the one and only Motswana capable of providing such expertise.
The Shashe-Mooke born Kenneth Dambe has demonstrated his capabilities at the top of South African premier league with Super Sport United and Kaizer Chiefs respectively. Dambe spent seven years at the Tshwane-based Super Sport United and three years with the Phefeni Glamour boys. He worked with coach Garvin Hunt during their three successful league campaigns and moved to work with Stuart Baxter at Chiefs where they also won the league title.
Performance analyst is one of the less known but scarce skills in modern football approaches. Dambe is among the first few Africans to be exposed to the job and softwares used for analysis. The youthful Dambe claims to have been previously engaged by the German national team during the 2006 world cup as a consultant. “There were only two performance analysts in South Africa being me (Dambe) and Vinny Lackrish who went to work for Opta Sports in England”, explained Dambe. The two worked at Four Zone sports agency liaising with a software producing company in USA. At the time, even the PSL clubs did not have either the softwares or the analysts in their technical department.
The ambitious young coach and analyst said he wants to develop local youngsters and guide them to the world cup. “I want to take Zebras to the U17 World Cup. I approached and met all relevant people at BFA in an effort to assist with my skills where possible”, said Dambe in an interview with this newspaper. Dambe successfully led an unknown young South African team Balfour Park U13 to Rio de Janeiro in 2003, beating Sao Paulo Osasco 3-2 at the semifinals and finishing off the Rio State Champions Filburgo FC 3-1 after a penalty shootout. The match had ended with a 0-0 score line. Balfour then produced stars like Lebogang Manyama and Keegan Ritchie.
Dambe joined Balfour in 2000, starting as U10 head coach and worked his way through to the PSL top clubs. Both Kaizer Chiefs and Supper Sport speak highly of the 36-year old Dambe as per reference letters seen by this publication. The Chiefs letter is signed by the club Administration Manager Abdulla Ismail Mayet while the Super Sport letter is signed by Academy Manager Giancarlo Ballossini. The academy manager says of Dambe, “Kenneth was instrumental in helping Super Sport achieve three (3) consecutive league titles and was very influential in shaping the career for over 30 academy players who are now playing overseas and in the PSL”.
Dambe claims that he decided to come home after spending 10 years advising championship-winning coaches at the ABSA premier league. The youthful coach won ABSA premier league titles with both Super Sport United and Kaizer Chiefs respectively. He started his football career at the age of 14 playing for Notwane FC development side during Paul Moyo`s era and subsequently played under former Zebras U17 coach Michael Gaborone at UB Hawks. Dambe prides himself for having played a significant role in the development of a few South African stars like Daine Klaite, Kamogelo Mokotjo, and Kermit Erasmus. Dambe holds a diploma in sports management from LNB campus in South Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer of Forwardzone Sports Agency Ashley Kotzin invited Dambe to try performance analysis at his company. The new career path for Dambe was to do a league match between Kaizer Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos, where he was asked to count completed passes for both teams and the boss to be was impressed with the first analysis report. Forwardzone did business with a number of televisions, newspapers and magazines and the German national team.
The then BFA president Tebogo Sebego denied ever meeting Dambe but acknowledged that he was informed that the performance analyst wanted to meet them as leadership. “No, I have never met him, maybe he met the secretariat”, said Sebego. The suspended BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng did not remember meeting Dambe. “I do not remember but I cannot deny. Honestly I cannot remember,” said Kemoeng.