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Story of the Missing Slippers - Ali's Words

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Recently I suspended a player of ours because we were having too many issues with him. It all began with a pair of slippers. It’s now been a few weeks since the suspension. Yesterday the player contacted me himself and very respectfully requested a meeting. I accepted his request because I believe that as a coach, it is not only your job but your duty to mentor these young boys and teach them important life lessons. The coaches and I are unanimous on the fact that the player is very talented but needs to work on his attitude.

When the boy asked me about the reason for his suspension, I explained to him that we don’t compromise on discipline. Also, you need to have a positive approach toward the game and other players. If there is an attitude problem, then regardless of how talented or capable of a footballer you are, you won’t succeed in your career or in winning a professional contract.

The player then asked me to explain to him through an example which I did. I discussed the whole incident of the missing slippers. One of the teammates asked this player to bring him a pair of slippers from his home country. Although the player did get the slippers, he refused to give them to his teammate upon return. The reason was nothing but an old grudge against him. This may seem like a very petty issue but it tells you a lot about the negative attitude of the player. In football, credibility and teamwork is everything. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with your teammates, it’s going to impact everything including your performance, your personality, your relationships, the game, and your life in the future. Also, I told him that refusing to give someone’s stuff is equal to stealing. Whatever vendetta or grudge you may have, you need to let bygones be bygones and work on repairing the relationship rather than ruining it further.

The entire series of episodes from bringing the slippers to refusing to give them and all other issues that followed are testaments to the wrong attitude of the boy. And we have no place for players with a negative attitude in our Academy.

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