Blog: Kalaba should show character on and off the pitch
Chipolopolo captain Rainford Kalaba came out of his shell and showed leadership on the pitch as he led from the front in the game against Tunisia.
The skipper showed his worth as he pulled the strings for the team showing creativity in attack, tracking back when needed and he looked inspirational on the field of play.
He was menacing going forward and provided the assist for Mayuka’s goal. He was deservedly man of the match.
With this only being his second competitive game after being handed the arm-band by towering defender Stopilla Sunzu, one may want to forgive the captain and overlook the incidences that happened post match.
However, it would be difficulty to let some of the post-match incidences pass without mention as we would be doing an injustice to football discourse.
1. Throwing away the captain’s armband
After the final whistle, Kalaba rushed off the pitch looking infuriated, maybe as expected considering the foregoing. But he did something unacceptable when he took off the armband and threw it to the ground in front of the cameras in what seemed to be an emotional show of disgust.
Kalaba should now learn to control his emotions not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well considering he is the leader in the team. On the pitch he showed the grit befitting a captain as he continued fighting up-to the very end but he cannot be throwing tantrums to the extent of throwing away the symbol of his leadership especially at a time when his team mates need him more.
One can only imagine how distraught the younger players like Lubambo Musonda, Spencer Sautu and Patrick Ngoma were as they they tried to fathom the paradox of football were the best team on the day can lose a match, but to see your leader acting up like that instead of him being the last to leave the pitch to comfort those licking their wounds and bleeding after the brutal loss could have been more confusing and adding salt to their emotional injury.
Our captain should be helped to learn how to deal with his frustrations as he is expected to be the senior lad the rest of the team should run to especially in times as tough as the team is going through now.
2.Taking a jibe at his team during the press meeting
In the post-match interview, Kalaba failed to show leadership when he went straight to attack his team mates for the loss as he seemed not to want to shoulder any bit of it.
Below are Kalaba’s remarks;
Today, the mentality was good compared to the first game. I don’t know what came into the mind of my colleagues after we scored. I was shocked to see the way they played. That was not the Zambia I know – R Kalaba
It is unacceptable for Kalaba as the leader of the team to put the blame on his team when his an integral member of the team and he completed the game. Even if he was clearly the best player on the pitch, his remarks were unwarranted and he will need to learn how to offer support to his team mates even by the choice of words he picks especially when talking to the media.
Kalaba presented a divided front by his remarks. Behind the doors, he can give his colleagues a ‘hairdryer treatment’ or vent through his coach but to take dig at his team mates in front of the world may not be the best course.
If he could pick a leaf from Bafana Bafana captain Dean Furman who did not shade a single shadow a blame on Tokelo Rantie after his penalty miss which was considered the turning point in South Africa’s loss to Algeria. Furman was careful with his words despite Rantie receiving wide condemnation for even stepping up to take the penalty. This is what Furman who also only assumed the captaincy recently said;
We won the penalty and TK (Tokelo Rantie) picked up ball … he is the striker and he went for the corner, but hit the crossbar. When the next penalty comes along – he is a confident player – and I’m sure he will put his hand up and take it. – D Furman
As the idiom goes; “The captain goes down with the ship” Kalaba should learn to take full responsibility for the teams action and not stand on a pedestal as the star who criticizes the team.
In 2008, after a World Cup qualifier which didn’t go well, Chris Katongo stormed off the pitch just when the brass band was starting to play the national anthem to signal the end of proceedings leaving all the other players on the pitch….. He seemed to have learnt from that and I hope our fantastic captain will pick from this to mould his character on and off the pitch as he wears the armband on behalf of mother Zambia.
A little guidance and counsel from the technical bench will also help.
In all, his faltering off the pitch should not in anyway take away his diligent contribution on the day.
Photo courtesy of Kickoff[Chimuka Hampango]
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