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Stop being cry babies Highlanders: Ezra

By Ezra Tshisa Sibanda

Dynamos vs Highlanders, the aftermath: There are few sporting contests that carry quite the same passion in Zimbabwe as a DeMbare v Bosso clash.

Ezra Tshisa Sibanda
Ezra Tshisa Sibanda

Their meetings regularly captivate millions of fans, not only in Zimbabwe but across borders and the footballing world. Zimbabwe’s El Classico has developed into the nation’s most hotly-anticipated derby match. Whenever the two meet, the country grinds to a halt to listen or watch the two teams collide.

There is so much talk about what happened in DeMbare’s 3-2 controversial win over Bosso, the main talking point being the disallowed goal. Yes the lineman Bongani got it completely wrong, he was definitely not at the races sleeping on duty while the referee Matemera also had a bad game as usual but how long shall we moan.

Referees in Zimbabwe have been a disaster, they seem not to understand the rule book or are simply incompetent. Just a few weeks ago one of these Zim referees was sent packing from Cosafa for gross incompetence. What is exactly wrong with our game in Zimbabwe? The system is rotten, the body running football in the country is in disarray and everything in this beautiful game is marred with chaos, corruption and infighting.

Coming to the battle of Zimbabwe, what happened in the game is not something new. It’s astonishing and shocking that Highlanders continues to cry foul days after the match. There is nothing new about what happened. It’s always the case when the two teams meet, in Harare it will always appear referees favour Dynamos and in Bulawayo, Dynamos fans feel referees favour Highlanders.

There are always questionable decisions in this fixture but to make noise about this particular incident as if it’s something new or it’s the end of the world that’s definitely out of order. Anyone who knows the history of these two teams will tell you that more serious incidents both on and off the field have always been on the menu in this fixture.

Go back to the 90′ s I remember very well that 3 Highlanders goals were disallowed in a Cup Final at the National Sports Stadium but Bosso still prevailed and won the cup because the team was full of winners.

There was also one incident when Madinda Ndlovu scored a thunderous goal from the centre but the lineman and referee Wilfred Mukuna disallowed the goal saying Highlanders’s Bigboy Ndlovu was on an offside position despite not interfering with play.

We had Amin Soma fighting with Henry Beefy Chari and police beating him in one of the games but Bosso continued to play and Highlanders won that match. Bosso had its marshal Bhibhiza brutalised by riot police in front of millions of people watching live on TV in one of the games and Bosso again played the game and won the match.

Who will forget Makwnji Soma Phiri slapping Bosso official Liqhwa Gama at a packed B/F stadium and did that cause the match to be abandoned? hell No. There are so many incidents which l can list here but the Bosso of yesterday was resilient and were never cry babies and won matches against all odds in Harare in front of DeMbare fans.

You simply need to ask Highlanders Class of 1986 to 90, then 1990 to 94 and again 1998 to 2002 not forgetting 2006. What has changed at Highlanders? The answer is simple, it’s the inept executive which has failed the club.

The Highlanders we know is no more, we have developed an element of being cry babies, we have let negativity cloud our thinking to believe in conspiracy theories. There is no longer that spirit and culture of fighting and winning against all odds.

Bosso has benefited from poor officiating as well, we robbed How Mine with a dubious penalty to earn a draw a few weeks ago when we were totally outclassed by the miners. Against Harare City it was the same story.

Murape Murape scored a genuine goal last season at BF in a premiership game and it was unfairly disallowed. Against Platinum, Bosso scored a genuine goal and it was disallowed as well so these things happen every time and everywhere in the world but shouldn’t be the reason why we shouldn’t move on.

If there were no TV cameras to show you the replays of the disallowed goal we wouldn’t be knowing if it was indeed a genuine goal or offside. Had the cameras been at the How Mine game people would have seen that it was not a penalty as well and Bosso would have lost that game. We just need to be true to ourselves and be fair in our everyday lives.

The disallowed goal which people are making noise about would only have given us a draw not a win so stop making noise and focus on the next important game against Triangle. Linesman Bongani might be suspended or banned but results won’t change so why waste time moaning?

A good administration would have picked players up, motivate them more because they played well in the second half than to see all these complaints flying in the press. Pick the players up, tell them it’s hard luck, create collective ambitions and tell them the objective is to win the league.

The Dynamos game is gone and let’s wait for them in two or 3 weeks time to beat them, that’s what we must hear if we had knowledgeable leaders.

Psych and pump up your players, tell them to achieve in a game of football, you first have to have a dream, and then you must act on that dream. The best are those who truly enjoy what they are doing and display a tremendous amount of work ethic.

They continue to persevere in spite of setbacks and never lose sight of their ultimate goal. In every sport there comes a moment when a spell of bitter weeping seems like a fair recess from whatever tough work is going on. It’s only the steeliest among us who can fight the urge to turn negative who instead will make contact and redouble their efforts. Call it grace under pressure. Call it grit, call it excellence.

Those who truly have the spirit of champions are never wholly happy with losses, draws or an easy win. Half the satisfaction stems from knowing that it was the time and the effort you invested that led to your high achievement, that was Highlanders of yesterday.

As a club, in our lives we will encounter many challenges, and tomorrow we face one together. How we accept the challenge and attack the challenge head on is only about us not moaning and complaining every time but being resilient because we don’t control anything in our country.

If we win or lose this weekend, it will not make a difference in our lives. All of us get knocked down, but it’s resilience that really matters. All of us do well when things are going well, but the thing that distinguishes footballers is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure.

Any game against Dynamos is special, players need to motivate themselves because every player wants to be involved so there is extra motivation and the game is one which the supporters want to watch and the players are desperate to play in.

The Bosso coach should instil a fighting spirit to have the same motivation and ambition, no matter what opponent if ever he wants to win trophies with Bosso. Tell them Mafu, that the defeat to DeMbare will make some of them into men and be the best they can be so get up and prepare for Triangle game.

Urge your players to harness the pain of the last defeat as one aspect, thwarting Dynamos’ pursuit of the 5th title in a row is another. Let’s show our mental and physical strength, in the aftermath of last Sunday’s defeat by bouncing back this weekend.

Tell your executive to shut up and lock themselves in their offices and stop causing restlessness in the team moaning about the past game.

Those boys need to be motivated to win again! To you Mafu, all players and this flopping executive you should know in order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen profession. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism.

Without a total 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this. To be a successful coach you should be and look prepared. You must be a man of integrity. Never break your word. Don’t have two sets of standards.

Remember you don’t handle players you handle pets. You deal with players. Stand up for your players. Show them you care on and off the field. Very important it’s not ‘how’ or ‘what’ you say but what they absorb.

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