Chipo Sabeta Senior Sports Reporter
SUNDAY CHIDZAMBWA says cultivating a winning mentality within players at every stage of their development is critical.
Fresh from achieving COSAFA Castle Cup history, Chidzambwa will be in charge of the Warriors’ CHAN qualifier against Namibia in Windhoek on Sunday.
“You are aware that I am not here on permanent basis, but naturally, I feel all coaches must cultivate a winning mentality in all teams when they represent the nation,” he said. “It must be a culture from the youngest teams like the Under-17 up to the senior side.
“Losing should not be an option. It’s not a case of being born with a good attitude and work ethic. As a player at Dynamos, I was quiet and reserved until Shadreck Ngwenya told me how important it was to behave like a leader in the field of play and to handle my professional interactions with coaches and fellow players.
“I was a good player, but my attitude towards team success improved by engaging better and seniors players.
“As a coach, one has to surround himself with people that have accountability inside them and I am grateful to my assistants Lloyd Mutasa and Bongani Mafu who are also keen to win every single day and have set high standards. “I was very clear in setting the tone for a winning mentality from the onset of the (COSAFA) tournament .’’
He said respect for the players was key. “Good coaches work everyday to give their players a reason why it is important to maintain a positive and optimistic attitude,” he said.
“Throughout my career, I make time to interact and address players before every training session or ahead of a match. “This doesn’t warrant insults, verbally abusing players or embarrassing them in front of their teammates. I don’t believe in that grilling approach.
“Too many coaches struggle with trusting their players and living with their mistakes and thus deny them an opportunity to mature and build confidence. “I believe in honesty and transparency as a group and it’s easy to instil a winning attitude in a squad.
“Many coaches make the mistake of believing that it’s easy to win, but players need constant reminding and often coaches should hold a quick meeting outlining their strengths, weaknesses and expectations.”
He said he will always pick the players who fit into his model. “When I am picking players, I do that on merit. I am not really concerned about the player’s profile, but his attitude. Players, especially younger players, take the lead from their coaches and often imitate their actions.
“You need leaders in a dressing room because the coach is not in touch with players all the time. These are characters that set an example with the way they behave, act and train.
“We had Ocean Mushure and Ovidy Karuru as co-captains. These are two different characters, but we were guaranteed the best performance from both players. “We managed to exploit the best from Karuru because he knew he was wearing the armband and that he had a responsibility.
“Mushure, on the other hand, is an experienced player who is leading the country’s biggest club institution and that takes so much courage. It is indisputable that the two captains were some of our top performers.”