For CAPS, this was our Kalusha moment

George Manyaya Special Correspondent
THEY say a miss is as good as a mile and they are right.

The enduring image from CAPS United’s stunning collapse on Saturday will always be that emotionally-charged elderly fan, barely inconsolable, as he ripped into his team’s doomed mission.

He represents millions of the Green Machine fans who are still struggling to recover from the emotional wreckage of the damage inflicted by the events on Saturday.

For us, the CAPS United family, this was our Kalusha moment.

That unforgettable moment, if you are a Warriors fan of a certain age, when the Zambian skipper destroyed our ’94 AFCON dreams with his late header at the National Sports Stadium in 1993.

In a classic case of self-destruction behaviour, CAPS United, relaxed and, ultimately, lost the strategy and, with it, the championship.

The entire family fell into a complacency trap and became overconfident — our ego had been massaged, we were already the champions and we were in celebratory mood.

Complacency is one of the principal reasons why most organisations have succumbed to competitive rivalry, in most cases ignoring the fact that consistency, and persistence, in the quest for success, is what provides the ultimate competitive advantage.

It is business as usual, in most businesses, and once they meet a certain target, they declare themselves champions and believe they will remain at the top of the market.

In this era of rapid technological transformation, which has brought about convergence, some organisations have remained in the comfort zone with no more value addition, no innovation, no review of the strategy without realising they are writing their downfall.

Looking at the fierce rivalry in the beverages, telecoms, tourism and insurance sectors, to mention a few, you can only wonder how some corporate leaders and teams still afford to sleep the same day they wake up.

Let’s just rewind a bit.

CAPS United were on the gates of heaven when they played Yadah last month and, by the time they took on FC Platinum on Saturday, they were the ones playing catch-up.

It also happens in businesses, everyone becomes excited by a deceitful sense of victory to the point that even Chicken Inn, another competitor, were ruled out of contention.

And, just like in business, companies usually underestimate the strength and capability of fellow competitors.

CAPS United underestimated the strength and resolve of the FC Platinum strategy.

That the Zvishavane miners had displayed tremendous tenacity, and resilience, throughout the season, didn’t seem to matter to CAPS United until it was too late for the Green Machine to react.

These are the same qualities important in business.

Losing 0-3 in a Champions League game does not necessarily make a competitor an inferior team, the same way Chelsea leaking four goals at Old Trafford didn’t mean they had suddenly become a Mickey Mouse side.

I’m reminded during the press conference to announce Nokir had been acquired by Microsoft.

The Nokia chief executive ended his speech consenting “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.”

But the reality is different.

Their opponents worked hard and became powerful.

Did the change in the CAPS United technical department, with Lloyd Chitembwe being replaced by Darlington Dodo, also contribute to what eventually happened?

Students of business management will resonate with the “Peter Principle”, which was christened after the prominent Canadian Researcher, Laurence J. Peter (1910-90), which promulgates that “people tend to rise to their level of incompetence”.

‘‘Thus, as people are promoted, they become progressively less effective because good performance in one job does not guarantee similar performance in another.”

Championship, or no championship, I will argue that Dodo put everything he could to try and win the league championship for his team.

However, like in business organisations, some employees are effective when they contribute from the bunkers as they are insulated from the pressures that come with leading from the front.

During my career advancement, I was privileged to pass through the hands of one boss who provided all the resources for the team and motivated us to win.

He was a strategic, fearless, charming and effective leader.

Despite meeting targets, he never allowed us to revel in glory and I can possibly attribute that to his military background, he inculcated the spirit of self-discipline and sustained strategy-making.

The entire CAPS United family prematurely began to taste the sweetness of success midway through the season and fell into a complacency trap.

Benjamin Meys summed it up when he said “the tragedy of life is not in our failure, but rather in our complacency, not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little, not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.”

However, spare a thought for the passion of my brothers Farai Jere and Nhamo Tutisani, they invested all they could for the love of their club and their commitment is unparalleled.

The motivational gesture by Nyasha Mushekwi, to provide them with a bus, was just the tonic that was needed.

Now, they have to find a way to rise from the canvas again.

FC Platinum should be saluted because their business model is just what makes them the difference and, in close races, it does matter.

There should be a reward to good organisations, great character, investment in infrastructure like building a modern stadium and taking care of their academies.

My humble advice to all football clubs and businesses, who did not manage to make it to the top this year and lost market share, this is the opportune time to reflect on our teams and an eye-to-eye approach is imperative, identify where things went wrong and prescribe possible solutions.

George Manyaya, who chaired the Mzansi ’90 Fund-Raising Committee, is a CAPS United fan and writes in his own capacity. He is currently studying towards a Doctorate in Business Management.

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