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Football

There is no I in Team

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the England recently over two individual players in two different team sports.

In the one sport, the individual had arguably his best season for his team and has now decided to seek greener pastures elsewhere as he felt his team lacked ambition. In the other sport, the individual played a key role in a scintillating batting performance and then unwisely decided to allegedly send derogatory text messages about his team and coach to the opposing team.  

The first individual is the most recent former Arsenal captain, “we don’t need Batman, we’ve got” Robin van Persie. The Dutch marksman had arguably his best season in an Arsenal shirt as he scored 30 Premier League goals and helped to elevate his former team from 17th position (at one stage) to a final position of 3rd on the Premier League table. Van Persie made his intentions clear on 4 July when he releases a statement saying he wanted to win trophies and that he and club disagreed on the way that Arsenal FC should move forward.  

The second individual is Kevin Pietersen – the South African-turned-Englishman – who can be a game changing batsman when the mood suits him. During the first test against South Africa at the Oval, the English batting attack (such that it was) was completely annihilated and none of the English batsmen emerged with any credit, including Pietersen himself. During the second test, however, the English team recovered some modicum of respect with a much improved batting performance including an impressive 149 in the first innings.

Then Pietersen decided to shoot himself in the foot. South Africa’s tour manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee, confirmed a report in the Mail & Guardian publication that Pietersen had been sending texts to his friends and compatriots in the South African team during the second test. The contents of the texts were not confirmed, but the word on the street is that they were “less than flattering” about captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower as well as other England team members.  Moosajee stated that the texts were simply  “friendly banter” and refused to discuss the matter further. The furore over textgate left the England Cricket Board with no choice but to drop Pietersen from the team for the 3rd and potentially decisive test against South Africa.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth has predominantly been from certain supporters and fans of Arsenal FC and the England cricket team. The Arsenal fans are aggrieved by the fact that Arsenal has become a “selling club” with a “lack of ambition” and some supporters are (yet again) calling for the head of manager Arsene Wenger. With the England cricket team, certain supporters are unhappy that one of England’s best batsmen has been excluded from the line-up, potentially weakening the English team just before a vital game.

With the RvP departure, the Arsenal fans should actually be applauding Wenger for this piece of business. The Arsenal manager did not have a choice with this one. Van Persie had refused to renew his contract, which is due to expire in 12 months time and Arsenal could not afford to let him go on a free transfer when that contract elapsed. In addition, van Persie has struggled with injury problems during his time at Arsenal and the 2011/12 season was the first season he managed injury free. For Arsenal to get over GBP20 million for a 29-year-old player is a canny piece of business. Arsenal supporters should applaud van Persie for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him well for the future.

As for Pietersen, he is but one man among eleven. The man has talent for scoring runs but he is not the be all and end all for this England cricket team. Making such a big fuss about one individual is actually disrespectful to the rest of his teammates. It makes it seem as if the team is incapable of winning without Pietersen.

Perhaps the best way to summarise the two situations is that there is no I in team.

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About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....

Discussion

10 thoughts on “There is no I in Team

  1. Money well made, RVP will not be missed, another Gunner will (as they always do) rise to the occasion.

    Posted by Gunner Runner | 17/08/2012, 10:10
  2. Van Persie was Arsenal captain. Thats the point. If you cannot keep your captain then It shows that your manager cannot inspire his most important player. The manager has no winning vision to sell and is unable to build up a team as player exodus is yearly. Viera captain sold, henry captain sold, toure captain sold, fabregas captain sold, van persie captain sold. Soon the rot spreads to rest of team nasri, adebayor, clichy sold and now alex song on his way out. There is not one player in the current arsenal team who was there the last time they won a championship. Manutd lost the title on the last day by goal difference and the had a trophy-less season, the players were gutted and have moaned the whole off-season. Winners dont settle for losing or accept targets like “it would be great if we finished top 4 this year!’. Last season Van persie was captain of Arsenal and top scorer in the league : Nasri and Clichy won their first titles. Lets see who the history books remember Blake or BOLT!

    Kevin plays for England but wants to be respected and loved by South Africa where he did not make the cut. They know, we know everyone knows he is the South African playing for England.

    Posted by farai dhliwayo | 17/08/2012, 10:25
    • Salient points Farai, and I agree with you but for a different article.

      Arsenal is no longer a title challenging team. Their aims are fiscal stability and CL qualification. Arsenal is indeed a feeder club for the more cash flush teams now and Wenger knows it. The only peeps who don’t seem to know are a certain section of the fanbase.

      Posted by Ticha Pfupajena | 17/08/2012, 11:32
  3. Another very interesting and enjoyable read from you youngman. Please keep them coming. Well done.

    Posted by mupamombe | 17/08/2012, 12:40
  4. Selling your best player, to your fierce rival seems a bad move to me. It may well turn out to be, as they would call it in chess, a queen sacrifice. Arsenal has got itself into a rut that has them challenging for positions 2-4 in the EPL. Much like Manchester United has been cruising in the 1-2 spot for better part of a decade.

    Compare for a moment the strike force RvP has moved to: Rooney,Welbeck,Hernandez,Berbatov) with Arsenal’s Park Chu Young, Lucas Podolski, Theo Wolcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh (and maybe Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain). Fergie has plugged a whole for when his main attacking threat (Rooney) is not on form as well as cover for CL and cup competitions. Arsene on the other hand seems to have removed the focal point of a scoring attack in the hopes that one of Podolski (new to the league) or Bendtner (not known for his scoring prowess) will step up to the plate.

    Only time will tell if the new signings at Arsenal will suffice in maintaining Arsenal’s current league performances while or if it will once again be a “rebuilding year”

    How great the Invincibles must have been for Arsene to still be rebuilding the team 8 years on.

    Posted by D Rock | 17/08/2012, 13:38
    • I never get why Arsenal think we are a big rival of theirs. Their rivals are Spurs both currently and in terms of long term rivalry. Our rivals are Man City

      Posted by Tafarrell | 18/08/2012, 18:33
  5. For too long now, Arsenal has been a team in rebuilding mode. I supported Arsenal until they started selling off that superb and wonderful winning team of Patrick Viera, Emmanual Petit, Bergkemp, etc en masse, leaving a new team of kidsters who went on to be rejuvenated annualy and they have never won anything meanigful since then. Wenger forgets that like wine, mature players like Gigs deliver the goods perennially. Eric Cantona also delivered better footbal at a ripe old age and lets not forget that the oldest man to score ina world cup was, of course, the incompable Riger Milla. Just watch how RvP will torment Arsenal this coming season, Wenger will then realize that, he lacks strategic vision and that he did not make a wise move at all.

    Posted by Kule | 17/08/2012, 14:46
  6. but there is the best in a team

    Posted by tttt | 17/08/2012, 17:06
  7. Pietersen just got confused by the unusual spelling of his own name.

    He thought it’s spelt tieam…

    Posted by Sentinel | 18/08/2012, 15:42
  8. Arsenal certainly made good money on this deal. Also they got a guy who can change a game by seemingly scoring against the run of play.

    As for Kevin, wasn’t didn’t he retire from odi cricket only to change his mind 5 minutes later.

    Posted by Ning | 19/08/2012, 18:39

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