Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Highlanders; What went wrong with Young Africans?

(This was the team team)
We played a brilliant 2-2 draw in Dar es Salaam and needed to see the video of the match we had played in Tanzania. 

That video could not be made available as it was meant for "pay-per-view" at a location in the western remote part of town, a certain Shisa Nyama. I have not seen the video until now.

One advantage we had in Tanzania was the input of the Simba Football Club coach, Jamhuri Kihwelo, a former national team captain and a friend I had met in Brazil.

While not forthcoming with the information I needed as to how they defended or attacked, he shed light to a few possible tactics like their formation and their most influential players. I must admit the challenge of working with Rahman Rush Gumbo as head coach, Willard Khumalo as an assistant and Ernest Maphepha the Manager. 

These people had great playing history for the club in their distinguished careers. Gumbo had a work routine that only I wanted to improve. It worked for him before and he was comfortable with it.

Our training programs and schedules were solely a case of balancing the technical and tactical jobs and choosing the correct peak periods not to burn out before the climax or hitting peak after the climax of each period.

Rush was solely responsible for the results but we lost our jobs at the same time, despite getting the results. There was no one to blame.

The new Highlanders environment and the size of the responsibility for me were overwhelming. I had been Gumbo's coaching instructor in his coaching courses and therefore could not deputize him. It was two bulls in the same kraal, never easy on job ethics.

On the return leg against Yanga, our preparations were sluggish and arrogant. We trained less and the input was very average. The suggestion to practise penalties was scorned at because as coaches, we did not give the Tanzanians any chance against us.

We camped just after Windemere for most of the 2 weeks and moved to Cresta Churchill the night before the match. It was a very late arrangement to move camp. 

During the match, the right winger made a few dangerous entries into the final third on the right, and delivered a few crosses. We failed to rectify the situation, even though we had identified it early enough. 

I remember Barry Daka coming near the dug out and advising of the same, that the winger must be dealt with. Before he sat down, the cross was delivered and a header score to the far post.

A duplicate move resulted in the second goal later in the half. Players got desperate and fans got frustrated. Impatience in the attack made it difficult to get a goal. Anxiety and disbelief consumed the players and their energy levels dropped. 

Loss of concentration and desperation resulted in a penalty, with 5 minutes of play left. The fans had enough and ran onto the field in protest. I do not believe the penalty was genuine but the fans could not take another goal well.

The violence that followed the 3-0 loss at home in the return leg led to the ban in the Africa Champions League by the Confederation of African Football, CAF.