Team play

The World Cup 2014 draws to an end today with the much anticipated explosive final between Argentina and Germany.

I expect it to be nothing short of orgasmic considering Germany’s prowess on the football field.

I can’t help but cast my eye back to Tuesday’s semi-final where the Germans emerged victorious after unleashing carnage on the Brazilians. Not even the Incredible Hulk could save the day.

We don’t expect scorelines of 7-1 in professional soccer. Such scores are better relegated to tennis or netball yet it appeared that way as the Germans kept scoring tirelessly.

Their efforts were made much easier by the non-existent defence of the Brazilian side.

A lot of disgruntled fans left the stadium at half time. Understandably they could already see how that game was going to end for Brazil, and it ended badly.

Sad considering that Brazil had a reputation of never having lost a home game in 62 matches.

Brazil did try to redeem themselves towards the end of the game by scoring a token goal. Makes you wonder whether there’s much of a difference between 7-1 and 7-0.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazilian coach must be squirming with shame wherever he is. I am sure he would be in good company with the likes of David Moyes who was said to have been behind the demise of Manchester United.

To suffer such a humiliating defeat on home soil is nothing short of suicidal; considering how much Brazilians pride themselves in soccer.

This defeat brings back memories of South Africa’s own elimination at the 2010 World Cup where they failed to proceed past the group stages despite being a host country.

It would be unfair to draw parallels with Brazil though because they actually bailed out at the semi-final stage which is more than what can be said of Bafana Bafana.

Nonetheless the astounding defeat will certainly enrage those who were already opposed to Brazil hosting the cup; a win would have otherwise appeased the ruffled masses.

A loss of this magnitude can only raise more ire and national discontent. However, when all is said and done Germany was the better side. They played like a team with co-ordination and precision.

The word team forms an acronym TEAM which translates to “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Teamwork is about trust which is why one becomes despondent when they see members of the same team bashing each other as was the case with the Cameroonians.

There is strength in unity which is why you will often see married couples who work together as a team easily progressing and achieving more than those couples with solo missions and ambitions.

Team work is about the ability to work together towards a common vision and a goal. This is essentially what makes companies, society and country work.

If we all work together for the common good of the team then it’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Soccer is essentially a team sport unlike tennis or golf which tends to be more individualistic. As such it is impossible to stage a one man-show and expect to get ahead.

For the most part in the entire tournament, Brazil did display a lacklustre performance. They have not been the better team; even in the games where they emerged victorious they were left feeling they did not deserve to win.

They managed to get by but in the end it all fell apart as they were exposed by the Germans a more superior team. The lesson learned is the importance of having a cohesive team. It is not by accident that soccer is played by 11 players and more often than not, we have seen the detrimental effect on the game when a team plays short of one player.

This demonstrates that everyone on that field is important and none should have more importance than the other. Each team member has a strength that they bring which gives power to the overall outfit.

To say a team is held together by one player is wrong. This is why the Brazilians fell apart at the seams without Neymar. However, this is not a legacy only suffered by the Brazilian team; many others suffer from the same fallacy.

For the Argentinian team, Lionel Messi is the golden boy. For the Netherlands it’s Arjén Robben; for Cameroon it was Samuel Eto’o, for Portugal it was Chistiano Ronaldo and so the story goes. Brazil’s loss shows us why a match can’t be won by relying on the team’s shining star.

Michael Jordan says: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” May the best team win tonight!

 Sue Nyathi is the author of the novel The Polygamist. You can follow her on Twitter @SueNyathi

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