Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.
Malawian coach John Maduka’s South African DStv Premiership club, Royal AM, has listed down factors that have contributed to the team’s success in cup and league matches.
Royal have earned the reputation of a high-flying team after storming into the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup following a 3-2 triumph over University of Pretoria on Sunday.
They are also second to Mamelodi Sundowns on the log table, with a big chance of playing in the Caf Champions League.
The team started the current season with two losses, prompting the club to issue an ultimatum for Maduka to start collecting points.
The former Malawi National Football Team captain responded immediately, drawing 2-2 with Chippa United in February.
He followed that up with more wins and draws that have taken the team to 43 points from 24 matches.
This resulted in his being named the league’s Coach-of-the-Month for February/March.
Royal Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sinky Mnisi told sowetanlive.co.za that he believes it has taken collective effort from management for the team to reach this far.
“To us, as management, it is fulfilling to see a team that was started three days before the kick-off of the league be in the position it is in today. I think it’s through hard work from management. It’s a team effort from the president, management, players and backroom staff and everybody.
“Everyone must take credit for what is happening. It’s not a one-man job. At Royal AM, we live like a family. It’s one happy family. We treat people very special. Our players are very special to us,” Mnisi said.
He said the club values the importance of player welfare to a team’s performance.
“Most of the time, when players get what they want, they will always perform. I believe in the fact that there’s something right we are doing, which is looking after our players and working as a team. We put our players first. When the season started, I made it public that we are going to be in the top eight. Now we have overachieved,” Mnisi said.
He said the club was excited to be competing for silverware with giants such as Sundowns.
Royal started the season with 1-0 and 2-1 losses to Swallows and Cape Town City, respectively, after the club bought Bloemfontein Celtic’s elite league status ahead of the campaign’s kickoff.
Towards the end of last year, South Africa’s soccerladuma. co.za reported that the club had given Maduka one more match to win or be sacked.
However, Maduka remained optimistic, maintaining that the team would turn the corner.
“Opening games are tricky. We did not play the game we wanted, but it is the first matches of the league and they are always tricky. But we know we will get better and come right.
“We need to have the confidence, then we will be able to play. We have ball players but we could not make five passes [in a row]. In the first games, there is a bit of tension but we will come right,” he told SuperSport.com.
Maduka’s assistants are South Africans Abraham Nteo, Ditheko Mototo and Simon Gopane.
Local analyst Higger Mkandawire said coaches are key to success or failure of a team.
“A coach is the major factor in any team’s performance. A club may have everything it needs but it cannot perform if the coach does not know what to do. We have seen teams failing to perform despite having everything they need,” Mkandawire said.
Maduka is the only Malawian coach in South Africa’s elite league.