Chipolopolo head coach Milutin Sredojevic, commonly known as ‘Micho’ says he is extremely frustrated that he had to put his plans on hold following the outbreak of the Covid-19 across the globe. Speaking to Goal Diggers in an interview, the Chipolopolo gaffer narrated that he is extremely frustrated such that at times he feels like crying.
“This period is not at all frustrating, it’s extremely frustrating. Extremely, you know when you set your mind on what you want to do, in terms ensuring that supporters are happy, when you have locked in your intentions, you are on cross roads, you want to branch right and cry and complain and sit and do nothing or branch left direction by being proactive, effective and being in a way finding alternative solutions that in a the future ahead will play important roles making us ready for all the challenges that football brings ahead of us,” he said.
“So, this has doubled my role, the first being to deal with the trauma that comes with this disease. As human beings we are in a position that we could be traumatised of torture and or try to be generators of positive energy, trying to be positive leaders because when the tough gets going and the going gets tough, then you can recognise the character of a person. This has no right to put us down, we need to challenge it in the best possible way. ”
Micho said he is however compelled by the nature of his job to show maturity and seniority by being positive amid the pandemic.
“These are very challenging times and in challenging times you need to show the seniority, maturity and having in mind that we have been here before between 1991 and 1995 and 1999, 21 year before. And we are really used to extra-ordinary situations and circumstances. We are now in the battle with this invisible opponent called Covid-19. We have a role and responsibility as elders to be leaders in serving the players with generating positive energy because players like any human being are in a way I would say can be traumatised and tortured by all sorts of information that could kill their confidence and kill their self-belief and that could put them in so much doubt,” he said.
He said he has defied the urge to be inactive and wait for the situation to normalise, and has instead engaged players via a method called ‘video correcting tactical analysis’.
Micho said though ‘video correcting tactical analysis’ he is lecturing and mentoring players to maintain their fitness levels instead of waiting for the situation to normalise.
“So, first thing that we need to do is generate positive energy and that positive energy will save us later when the situation comes back to normal. So, this is one issues, second issue is that due to the fact that players are not in organised training sessions, we have an obligation to keep them fit and in that regard they are advised, individualised program to implement and keep themselves physically fit waiting for the situation to become normal. And third, the other aspect is called video, correcting tactical analysis of what they have done good to keep it up and upgrade and what we have done alone to correct themselves so that this makes them be better players,” Micho narrated.
“This is exactly the time where some people would say this is boring time, but this is when we should keep up the spirit during this extraordinary time caused by Covid-19. We are mainly mentoring the Chan team. We have a WhatsApp group where all this mental strength and fitness aspect from the training analysis, and more information is given there. But it’s not just this team, that is only from our local point, second point is players playing in African continent and then beyond that players playing worldwide. I know that two of our players will start competition in a league that is opening very soon, but I will not tell you which players they are. So, we are mentoring all these. We know in a way what other players are doing. So, this is a time to come closer as a national team coach and explain the rule.
He said once the situation normalises, he intends to use soccer to heal the soul of Zambians who have been traumatised by Covid-19.
“And the rule is, we want to give our hearts to the players, because once this finish, Zambia as a nation goes through several trials and our people go through traumatic situations daily, and in all those things one extra bad thing, the Covid-19 has happened. And we are fully aware that our role as a national team Chipolopolo is to keep Zambia’s happy by providing relief to these situations they go through. We want to be the sole healers that are uplifting traumatised minds to be happy with our performances. And for that to happen, we cannot be inactive in this situation, we need to be proactive and extremely progressive and aggressive instead of sitting back and wait would say this is boring time, but this is when we should keep up the spirit during this extraordinary time caused by Covid-19. “