Siege Mentality is ‘an attitude or state of mind in which one feels surrounded or under attack by enemies.’
Such a mentality can be all about one’s attitude and state of mind. Imaginary.
So, when plan A, B and C fails in football, coaches the world over seek refuge in Siege Mentality—Nyasa Big Bullets Coach, Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, successfully did just that at Mulanje Park Stadium last Sunday.
Bullets, Malawi’s most successful club with an unparalleled haul of 13 TNM Super League titles and countless cups, had just huffed and puffed into a scrappy scoreless draw against Silver Strikers.
It was a result that spoiled the mood in an otherwise picturesque Mulanje.
It was not an isolated draw. It meant that Bullets had completed 360 minutes of football without a sniff of the back of the net.
A draw is part of the game, but this was a big yawn even the Flames Coach, Ronny van Geneugden, left the stadium before the end of the match after being left sleepy with the kick and rush on the pitch.
Put simply, Bullets are yet to realise the meaning of scoring three weeks into the 2017 season.
Ramadhan is not to blame, yet when it comes to results, the buck stops at him.
Three weeks ago, the Burundian said it was normal returning from Mzuzu with just one point.
A fortnight ago, he challenged everyone who dared listen that Bullets were not immune from defeats.
“Can you give me a verse in the Bible which says Bullets will never lose a game? Tell me one verse in the Bible or which ever,” the Burundian told the press after the first leg’s 1-0 away loss to Silver.
And when Bullets drew 0-0 last Sunday, the coach had to say something, fault either someone (referee Mischeck Juba) or something.
“It seems we were playing against 13 players. It hurts to lose. It seems some people come with results from their homes. And who ever organises these matches, you cannot play a game like this without first aid and an ambulance,” Ramadhan told the media in a post-match interview.
“I do not know the level of this referee. This referee is supposed to go to the lower division. The whole organisation tried to steal the morale of my team.”
Ramadhan made such remarks obviously in the heat of the moment. He had to say something.
No matter that your team’s strikers are impotent and cannot spell the word score, just tow the Siege Mentality line to justify an abject display and deflect the attention of frustrated fans such as those of Bullets.
Actually, it starts in the dressing room before a game. Fearing an imminent defeat, coaches make their players believe that the whole world has ganged up against them.
It is not a new theory. Not a new discovery. It is a psychological game which Manchester United Manager, Jose Mourinho, has played over the years in the process turning the likes of Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid in the Spanish La Liga into his disciples.
However, it does not require rocket science to see the genesis of Bullets’ struggles.
Bullets have an ageing defence that is prone to injuries. The defence lacks ball-players to build play from the back.
The striking force has the numbers but not enough quality. The boots which Chiukepo Msowoya’s left seems too big for Collen Nkhulambe, Dave Banda, Diverson Mlozi, Musa Manyenje and Muhammad Sulumba to fill.
Msowoya, who signed for South Africa’s Golden Arrows, top scored with some 17 goals last season, but Bullets failed to find a right playing partner for him. Second, Bullets coaching panel did not have plan B for scoring.
Left-back Yamikani Fodya is no longer a trusted scorer from set-plays. Since dragging Henry Kabichi off the wings, he no longer scores from free-kicks.
In Kabichi, Chimango Kayira, Mike Mkwate, Dalitso Sailesi, Fischer Kondowe, Kondwani Kumwenda and McFarlen Ngwira, Bullets have a quality midfield.
But the problem is that save for Mkwate, the rest of the midfielders can only provide Bullets penetration from the wings and not through the middle.
Bullets did not replace Jafali Musa. Could Nelson Kangunje perhaps be the missing link? May be. However, Kangunje is not an out-and-out striker.
Again, Ramadhan is not to blame for all this, but the supporters are for they chop and change the Executive Committee too much thereby undermining stability, which is key to buying right players.
When other teams were buying quality players during the off-season, the fans were at the centre of the in-fighting.
Bullets must blame themselves for the mess they find themselves in. If they want, together they can get themselves out of the pit they threw themselves into.
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