While pundit expectations – and their sentiments for that matter – as the Premier League season was coming to a close – was that the old format would be exercised but now it appears there is a shift in direction.
There will no longer be the wholesale departures and entrances into the squad and, instead, the current effort at team building will be maintained.
Some shall be questioning if there is a need for a ‘team building’ ethos in a side that is not just established as a club but has never abandoned upper or top levels of the local Premier League.
Its self-esteem may have been dented in international competitions – where it was never established since the far off days of contesting for higher rounds of the Africa club championship with Asante Kotoko of Ghana, or Nigeria’s Enugu Rangers at a different moment.
Those days paled away eons ago, are unknown to current generations of fans - outside pundits going through recordings of the past in their exercise of wisdom, etc.
Still, there is a permanent element of team building even in the highest-ranked sides, as individual players and their skills or psychological make-up constitute essential elements that coaches must take into account when settling for a squad at the start of the season.
They seek to fill not just technical but quite often psychological gaps in how a team is built, and at times there is a visible tremor, either on loyalties to a particular player when the coach doesn’t think he is worth it, or to overall techniques and results that they promise.
That is why coaches may succeed at first and lose out later when effectiveness fades out with the usual techniques if applied with a different bunch of players, adversaries find loopholes, etc.
That is why recruitment often poses problems for clubs and how it is managed isn’t just a technical issue with the coach, immediate assistants, and stakeholders in the club but a wider psychological issue, as to what sort of problems they are trying to solve.
So long as a club has confidence in the coach, the issue is the recruitment of players who fit in with the plans he brings out, and when there is no result or it is thinning out, then the coach is an official the club must first replace.
That is why it is helpful to start at that point to see where Yanga has reached or attained with their new head coach, and how he now looks at squad issues.
As things stand, it is evident that Nabi has passed the sternest test for a city rivals’ head coach, namely the side performs against the traditional rivals at the other end of the street.
He won the first encounter and narrowly lost the second, with 10 men on the pitch, and even if there is controversy about tactics that the side employed in the second match, if they were methodical or temperamental, etc.
Winning one game and narrowly losing another is dignified, especially when team strength more or less trumps the Jangwani Street side, which has had considerable difficulties battling Premier League sides, unlike their archrivals.
What the pundits are saying is that Nabi has cautioned the club leadership against the wholesale release of players and wholesale recruitment of others, expressing confidence in the current squad, and wishing for recruitment of up to six key players.
In a different environment that would even appear ambitious, but for Yanga it overly looks like a break with the past, as lack of confidence in players has reigned for several years, where many are left aside at the end of the season and many others come in.
The cycle repeats itself at the end of the following season, which illustrates that there is an ailment in the club that goes beyond the quality of players picked, as they tend to lose spirit, concentration as the season proceeds, an aging outfit.
Some of these tendencies were plentiful just recently, but Nabi seems to say ‘I have seen it before.’
While fearing that one may overstep the mark, it can be said that the head coach has seen an eye to the tourbillion that was not being pinpointed by others, for instance instead of seeing several players lacking in the discipline (what in arithmetic is the highest common denominator) the coach may have seen the cause of malaise among players (a least common denominator).
If that malaise is put to rest then the lack of discipline rapidly evaporates as players move a cycle of lassitude to optimism, which generates energy that may have previously lacked.
Without going too far, the fact that the side held on with Simba in the absence of their star Angolan player who left, and then held with 10 men for long periods, suffices.