Who in their wildest dreams expected the Uganda Cranes to reach the finals of the AFCON 2017? At least not me, and I am certain that many Ugandans did not expect the Cranes to reach the finals either. Going through to the quarter finals would have been a bonus. I am proud of the Cranes, but why these low levels of expectation?
Football, just like all competitive sports or ventures in life, is never won by chance. Winning as an end result is a culmination of many deliberate tested and tried processes/interventions. One may “fluke” and win due to sheer combination of external factors that work to one’s advantage, but is soon put back to one’s rightful position due to the strength and resilience of one’s internal systems and processes.
I have heard commentators talk about going back to the “drawing board” – what is on the current drawing board? Do you remember what was on the previous “drawing boards”? Let us at least make it hard for anyone to come and simply rub away what is on the current board created by Micho Sredojevic and many stakeholders. Let’s not be like the unwise learner who relies on human memory and forgets about copying the full notes from the board – they always come running and panicking around exams time looking for the notes and most of the time perform miserably.
Has someone taken the deliberate effort to document in detail how the Cranes got to the current finals? What processes (including the minor details – nitty-gritties) did the Cranes go through in the 60’s and 70’s to be regular at the Africa Cup of Nations Finals? Or have those experiences remained in the memory of the players and staff and vanished with the legends or regimes?! I read a post on Facebook by Kennedy Mutenyo (Coca-Cola) on how proud he was to have contributed (through the Coca-Cola School Football Tournaments) to the rise of many of the current group of players – how does that compare to what happened in the 60’s and 70’s? – have those been documented? What has been the training and discipline regime under Coach Micho?, etc.
For me, the next challenge is for us to test the strength/resilience of the internal processes and systems that led us to the AFCON Finals – i.e. can the Uganda Cranes reach the next AFCON regardless of the qualifier group (without applying “mathematics”), play the kind of exciting football (that scared the Pharaohs and the Black Stars) and win one game in the next AFCON finals? I do not care whether we go to the second round! That for me will be an indicator that our systems and processes are working in a sustainable way. Or are we going to wait for another 40 years in the wilderness…each year focusing on the results yet forgetting that results are nothing but an outcome of processes and controls? Ask Leicester City Football Club who are undergoing the challenge, what would they say about staying in the top 4 in the English Premier League? or those African World Cup regulars; what it takes to reach only the second round! Is it about the Coach and Players only?
The next time I hear someone blaming Coach Micho and whoever else and not focusing on the processes & systems you know what I think about you! The Coaches and Sports Association presidents will come and go, even Uganda’s Presidents and Ministers will come and go but we can retain processes and systems and simply demand of new managers to maintain (as a minimum) or improve them period! Short of that, they are fired!
The ultimate question remains: Should the focus be on creating and improving the right kind of processes and structures within which whoever comes operates OR should we focus on recruiting, hiring and retaining the right coaches & football/sports operators?
Operations/ Process Management Expert
Imprint Uganda Ltd
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Imprint (U) Ltd provides superior capacity building consulting services by a team of experienced operators with vast exposure. The organization draws its name from a leadership attribute associated with exemplary leaders who leave an imprint (distinctive mark of leadership) on people's lives.