-mental state of readiness.
This is visible within the space of one match or portions of it, and thus it also needs to be projected as to how that mental state unfolds in the course of an encounter. How it unfolds in the next tie is anyone’s guess.
That situation is amply illustrated by the Simba SC versus Jwaneng Galaxy FC contention in the local champions’ away tie in CAF Champions League second preliminary round, where an enigmatic situation arose of scoring two early goals before the game clocked ten minutes, indeed just over five minutes.
This appeared to be a trend, for those with a penchant for repetition, in which case the final score would be somewhere above five goals at least.
That wasn’t to be the case, and at the final whistle, the score stood precisely where it was, at 2-0 for the visiting side.
It would be up to the pundits to say ‘what happened,’ but the issue is elsewhere, in setting out the dynamics of what happened.
It was hard to see who was going to do the right sort of analysis, and where indeed that would have to be located – whether it is what happened during the first five minutes or so and allowed the visiting side to score a couple of goals, or how they were completely checked later.
Within this setting of the problem an analyst would have to figure out how far either goal was a result of a ‘game plan’ or attacking techniques which yielded fruit, or merely the result of inattention on the part of the home side, which they quickly checked, but rather late.
The complicated part is whether this inattention was a lapse or it was structural.
To start with, nobody can ‘structure’ how to score a goal, as in that regard goals would be predictable, that one makes this or that kind of motion and it leads to a goal, and the ‘receiving’ team would be unaware of that kind of ‘program.’
Therefore the sort of play moves that bring about a goal can be said to be structural as they relate to training and techniques of using a ball when in that position, but nothing can be readily predicted about the state of readiness of an opponent, how for instance a defender approaches a midfielder or forward with the ball. Are there defined moves or decided by circumstance?
Unpredictable reactions of that sort to a move, even in the early minutes of the game, can make a difference in the results of such moves, and it would thus follow that a couple of moves – similar or dissimilar in specific ways – were put up successfully, resulting in goals.
That too would have been a visible structural weakness that the coach would move to address, for instance buttressing the defense in comparison with midfield and attack, if he noticed that the visitors were overly numerous in the attack.
That isn’t a formal explanation of the two quick goals but hitting them and not repeating invites that scenario.
If one settles for that scenario and then looks at the 85 minutes that came later, and indeed nearly a full 90 minutes including stoppage time, the structure of the match is altogether different.
The two sides were neatly balanced and none could fruitfully use a scoring opening, whatever frequency of that scenario has come up.
What this also suggests is that there was a manifest weakness that was curbed at the start and the visitors – for some reason or another – could not duplicate their earlier prowess, and as this latter scenario lasted for the rest of 90 minutes, it can be admitted as the principal rule of that encounter.
Concerning the opening question, it is evident that Simba’s opening encounter with Galaxy can’t be put to the same mapping scenario as the Kaizer Chiefs encounter in the first leg, as those goals were scored with 20 minutes of regularity.
It would however approximate one or two recent archrivals’ clashes that have been settled with a single goal in early minutes, which couldn’t be duplicated or leveled. It is such a scenario.
As the archrivals’ matches have taken that pattern at least twice, there are chances that the next encounter between Simba SC and Galaxy brings up either the same format as in Gaborone or the 90 minutes minus the ‘wild’ or ’wasted’ five minutes that will trouble the home side for years to come.
When they land in Dar es Salaam they will be in no mood to repeat those errors while Simba will be looking forward to playing doubles – unless of course, the ‘learned coach’ of the other side discovers how to play the same trick.
For instance, a towering fullback gallops unnoticed into the opponents’ goal area, messing up the marking pattern, etc.