BLOG : WHAT MAKES A BIG TEAM ‘BIG’ ?
What really makes a team to be considered as a big team is a debate that has rocked Zambian football in the last few days.This follows coach Sven Vandenbroek comments about the 2012 champions.
According to the Belgian, Zambia is not as a big team as the football mad Southern African country think it is.
“Everyone wants to believe that Zambia is a big country in football maybe it is but we only won it once in 2012, you always have to base
it on the past few years not 40 years ago, in 2013 first round out, 2015 first round out 2017 did not qualify and 2019 so maybe we need to build from grassroots trough certain structure to have a strong team,” Sven told the Zambia Daily Mail.
“It won’t happen in a year you need three, four years maybe it is important to play to win everyone wants the team to win but to build astrong team I think it’s not bad idea to let someone wait for a longer period and have a stronger team,” he added.
He is however eager to stay at the helm of Chipolopolo as he expressed interest to continue if he was given the mandate to do so.
“That’s what I want, I want to stay and build a strong team if everyone around me, the federation and government allow me to do this because everyone else we did not qualify for the Africa Cup that means it can have consequences on my job but when I see the potential and willingness of some people to improve in the team and outside then think it’s better to work on a longer term project and build something, have some structures instead of having successes occasionally,” he said.
Reverting to his earlier comments but what really makes a big team?, Is it titles won or the number of tournaments participated in? What is it?.
If you analyse his statement he seemed to be basing his conclusion on the fact that Zambia has only won the Africa Cup of nation once.
Well for a man who comes from Belgium that says alot. If you look at the statistics for the two nations it means Zambia is a bigger footballing nation than the Red devils.
Belgium have been to the European Championships just 5 times out of 14 while Zambia has made it to 17 out of 26 representing 36% and 65% for Belgium and Zambia respectively. Belgium’s best ever finish was when they came out second back in 1980 while Zambia has been Champion, Come out second twice and third three times.
He then talked about Zambia missing the AFCON twice (One of which he should take responsibility for) plus group stage exits after 2012 well his country of birth came out in the group stages in the next tournament after their best campaign before missing three consecutive tournaments, Making it back but only group stage then again missed another three tournaments.
Another Country who have only won a continental show piece once is Portugal hence according to Sven’s analogy they are not as big as they may think.
Let’s bring it back to Africa, Tunisia, The Carthage Eagles have an identical record to Zambia but they are regarded as a big team.Ghana another national regarded as a great football national in Africa, Have four AFCON titles but last won it back in 1982.
It’s clear if Sven’s sentiments are used as a yard stick many teams are ‘Overrated’ . Whether he is right or wrong will ultimately go down to individual interpretation.
But for his interest to stay on as Chipolopolo coach beyond his contract he may need to start watching what he says. The fans are furious but who can blame them after that shambolic performance in Mozambique and it’s consequences in addition to his ‘misplaced’ sentiments.
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