Contrasting views have been thrown into the fray on why Silver Strikers struggles in cup competitions but shine in the league.
The Bankers, who boast the most sustainable sponsorship in the land, have not won a cup for the past seven years. Even then, the Standard Bank Cup they won in 2007 was the only cup in the past 12 years.
In contrast, they have enjoyed a good run in the Super League having won it three times in the past four seasons.
Young Chimodzi, who is considered one of the best coaches and players to have emerged from the Bankers camp, attributed the team’s struggles in cup competitions to failure to plan properly.
“It all boils down to how they plan for cup games. The approach for cup and league games is supposed to be different because cup games are played on knockout basis and if you lose one game then you are gone, unlike league games in which a team is able to recover.
“A good example was what happened last season when they were somewhere in the middle at the end of first-round, but managed to bounce back and win the league,” said Chimodzi who doubled as coach and player when the Bankers used to win cup competitions in the 1980s and 1990s.
He also said the other factor could be psychological.
“It could be that it has gone into the players heads that they do not do well in cup competitions and therefore, the focus is on league games,” said Chimodzi.
However, the team’s coach and former player Stein Chirwa and one of the senior players, Frank Banda, said they have not had an ounce of luck in cup competitions.
“I would agree that during our days we would win one or two cups every season, but I think for the past decade or so, we have just been unlucky. For instance, in the past two seasons, we were able to reach three cup finals [twice in Standard Bank Knockout Cup and once in Presidential Cup].
“On all these occasions it is not that we didn’t play well, but were just unfortunate not to win and I have in mind the Presidential Cup finals in which we lost to Mafco in a penalty shoot-out. Now penalties are lottery, they can go either way,” said Chirwa.
Nevertheless, Chirwa said the technical panel is planning to meet and devise a strategy on how to approach cup games.
Banda agreed with his coach saying: “Football goes with an ounce of luck sometimes and it’s just a coincidence that we have done very well in the league, but struggled in cup games.”
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said it all boils down to players’ attitude and team tactics.
“In league games, they are consistent, but in cup games they forget that its washala-washala and therefore, the approach needs to be different,” said Nyirenda
Club chairperson McDonald Mafuta-Mwale said the team’s failure in cup tournaments cannot be attributed to tactics or pressure.
“I think we have been the better team in all the three finals that we have played , but luck has not been on our side.
“Maybe it’s God’s will that we struggle to get results in cup games, but God will smile at us in future,” said Mafuta-Mwale.
Last week the Bankers were booted out of the Carlsberg Cup by Azam Tigers in a match in which their performance was below par.