DYNAMOS could have taken a huge gamble by hiring Paulo Jorge Silva as their coach, a man with very questionable coaching credentials.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Portuguese signed a three-year deal with the Harare giants in January, where he has been tasked to reclaim the league title the team lost to Chicken Inn last year.
He arrived in Zimbabwe three months after he had been unveiled as coach of Nigerian Division One football side, COD United.
It’s unclear why he terminated his contract with the West African outfit. If online information is anything to go by, then the Dynamos job may be his first serious assignment.
The energetic former goalkeeper claims he has worked with several high-profile teams around the world, including German giants Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Greuther Furth and Aalen.
He says he has also worked with Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, Al Wasl and Sharjah FC in the United Arab Emirates as well as African giants Esperance of Tunisia, Ghana’s Hearts of Oak and Nigeria’s Enyimba and COD United.
Quite an enormous CV for a man who hung his playing boots in 2012, having played for 14 clubs in a career spanning 19 years.
But an online search about his coaching history will only yield his short-lived stint with COD United, nothing else on any other team is readily available.
In addition, this week, Stuttgart denied ever having him in their structures in any capacity, suggesting Silva might have worked with kids at a local school.
In a brief email to NewsDay Sport, Stuttgart media and communications officer, Laura Steinacher wrote: “We couldn’t find any sources about Jorge Paulo Silva in our archives. Maybe this information helps you: according to one of my colleagues, Jorge Paulo Silva was working for this school: http://www.fussballschule-soccerkids.de/impressum/.”
Silva could not be reached for a comment yesterday, as he was not answering his mobile phone.
While he boasted of a glittering coaching career with lots of experience, as he was addressing his first Press conference in the country, that experience was untraceable.
What is not questionable though is his playing career, as he featured for top Portuguese clubs such as FC Porto, Braga and Benfica, winning the league title with the latter in the 1993-4 season, although he played just one minute throughout the season which came in the final game.
He was called to the Portuguese national team once as a cover at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but spent the whole tournament on the bench.
Nicknamed Sledgehammer, Silva, who reportedly once dropped his pants to show his backside during one of the matches with Sporting Lisbon, appears to have been quite an unpopular figure with the fans in his native country.
He was a target of scorn by some fans, particularly on one Portuguese website because of his attitude.
“Butter hands, I never liked this guy, even in Braga,” posted one reader. Another comment read: “Attitude more, talent less.”
The other reader posted: “The problem was not just his arrogance, he was a total idiot, arguing for everything and anything. Sledgehammer without bones.”
In a short space of time he has coached Dynamos, he has managed to divide opinion among the club’s supporters, while reportedly ruffling feathers in the dressing room.
Reports suggest that he is already losing the dressing room with several players increasingly unhappy with his heavy-handedness.
A source said Silva, on his second day on duty at the Harare giants, gave defender Sydney Linyama and the kit manager quite a tongue lashing for reporting late at training.
With Silva already wielding the axe on Linyama, the defender was only saved by club boss Keni Mubaiwa, who was present at the training ground.
Other reports suggest Takesure Chinyama has been treated with similar disdain, and this week, the coach publicly said he doesn’t fancy the big striker, who was the team’s main striker last season.
He is looking to bring at least three strikers from outside the country.
During Dynamos’ match against Kabwe Warriors last week, Silva was only dissuaded by assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa from substituting goalkeeper Ashley Reynes after just five minutes of the match — something that reportedly caused considerable unease within the squad.
Silva’s relationship with the Dynamos hierarchy is also thought to be tense and he will have to impress in the first few games, or his trigger happy bossescould fire him.
It appears the bulk of the players in the squad are already hoping for it.