SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo, discussed that for players to produce for their new clubs, talent alone won’t cut it.
"This is the background of what I want to focus on here at home. We are not saying these players were not performing at their previous clubs or anything, but I was impressed with the performances displayed by SuperSport United’s Thamsanqa Gabuza, who scored two goals against Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 quarter-final.
"He’s been instrumental in his new team’s two crucial games that I regard as 'Group A' games in a space of a few days. He came on as a substitute against his former club, Orlando Pirates, during the week and did well, but he was so excellent against Wits. At some stage, he was frustrated at Pirates and we all saw what happened when they played against Black Leopards. He was angry and disappointed, but after he scored against Wits, he ran to the bench and hugged his coach, Kaitano Tembo. What kind of an influence have SuperSport had on him so far? Is he in a more relaxed atmosphere with not too much expectations? Is he understanding his new club better or is it just a case of a new environment? Whenever a player scores and hugs a coach, there’s a message being sent out.
"There are so many players I can mention in relation to what I am talking about, where players struggle at one club and go on to do much better at another. You look at Vincent Pule - not to say he was struggling at Wits - and how he’s enjoying his game at Pirates. He’s more confident and vocal, influencing games and clearly out of his shell. He’s become one of the team’s danger men. Look at Wayne Sandilands and how well he’s been doing since joining Pirates, which is why he’s their number one goalkeeper at the moment. He’s had his ups and downs, but managed to redeem himself. He was even sent to the MultiChoice Diski Challenge team and regained his confidence without any noise. Some players would probably have even refused to go play in the MDC and choose to leave instead. He didn’t do that and remained a professional, which is commendable. Now he’s reaping the rewards. There are so many factors that one can look at when trying to analyse why a player is doing better at his new club than his original club. Most of all, I believe, the coaches play a major role in influencing the performance of the player.
"For example, a coach will understand the player’s background, where he is best suited on the field, how to get the best out of him and I also believe some coaches have a way of getting into their players’ minds to prepare them. The mental factor plays a huge role and sometimes we can argue that the coach changed things only to find that the player just couldn’t fit into his former coach’s philosophy. Sometimes there are things players aren’t happy about, be it contractual issues and that sometimes affect their performance. These are things that happen behind the scenes and people don’t even know about them. It would be very interesting to hear what influence these players’ performances at their new homes but, unfortunately, we may not know the exact reasons."