Analysis: ISAAC MACHISA
GREATNESS has common denominators. Regardless of the field you are in, the principles of success are the
same. Today, I want to look at some of the principles the under-20 applied to get where they are.
The Zambia U20 has brought a lot of joy to the nation; from winning the COSAFA U20 Cup to the lifting up of the Africa Cup, which was hosted here in Zambia. As if that was not enough, they came close to the semi-final spot at the World Cup which England won in South Korea. I must say the team is a delight to watch and probably one of the best teams assembled at national level. As much as I was enjoying watching every game they played, at the back of my mind I was trying to understand the secret behind their success.
The issue of analysing the flow of the game, the creativity of our midfield, the pace of our wings and so forth, I will leave to soccer pundits like Benedict Tembo. My focus is mainly on the team’s positive mentality that propelled them to success. Here are some lessons I picked up from the Zambia U20 which can build your life.
THEY KEEP THEIR ENERGY LEVELS HIGH
At times you will be scared of the very things you are meant to overcome. Zambia played big teams like Iran, Germany and Portugal and they emerged victorious. Regardless of how good we know these teams to be, players were confident enough and entered the pitch with a mentality of saying ‘bring them on and we shall shoot them down’. Zambia was equal to the task.
In life, you will face obstacles which will look stronger and tougher than you are but always remind yourself that you can do anything. Never lose a battle without attempting it. Be confident and remember that within you lies the ability to do the impossible.
No matter how tight the game is, they remain calm and eventually things work out in their favour. Life is full of pressure but sound judgement eminates from a calm spirit. When you lose self-composure, you become prey to your challenges and circumstances begin to dictate your moves and actions. In order to achieve greatness, one should learn to master how to manage their emotions. Don’t let your emotions get the best out of you and distract you from doing what needs to be done. Be on top of things no matter the pressure. Your composure sends your enemies into panic and confusion
THEY PLAY AS A UNIT
A common saying is that no man is an island. This means you cannot work in isolation and expect to succeed. From the goalkeeper to the coach, Zambia played as a unit. You could actually see the coordination in their free-flow passes. You don’t have to be perfect to make it in life, all you need is a united force. Find people who share your dreams and goals, also people you can count on and work with. Sometimes, God just sends people to help you achieve your goals in life. Even the weakest are termed strong if united.
THEY DON’T CONCEDE DEFEAT TILL THE LAST WHISTLE IS BLOWN
One thing I noticed about the Zambia U20 is that scoring against them is as good as provoking them. During the AfCON, Egypt and Mali did so and that stimulated and energised them to come from behind and carry the day. Even at the World Cup, Iran was up by 2-0 and yet the boys came back and won the game. Germany can tell you how they were grilled for scoring first. My point is that they have a “don’t give up mentality”. A mentality that never throws in the towel. Just few minor setbacks shouldn’t derail you. You may be down but still in the game, so treat every setback as a set-up for your comeback.
Last week as I was contemplating writing about the team’s success, I managed to ask Patson Daka some questions. One of them is, what made them overcome Iran after going down 2-0? His answer was self-belief. This simply means the team believed in themselves and in each other’s abilities and had one goal. In life, you cannot go anywhere without self-belief. Have faith in yourself even if the world doubts you. Let me conclude by quoting Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors, on what he said about self-belief “There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.”
The author is a pastor, motivational speaker and mentor.