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Enoka joins Chelsea football club

Tuesday 7 February 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Football, Sports


Enoka joins Chelsea football club
Michelle and Gilbert Enoka take time out to relax and enjoy the Cook Islands. PHOTO: AL WILLIAM/22020418

Glamour English football club Chelsea have hired All Blacks mental skills expert and Cook Islander Gilbert Enoka.

Enoka, who invoked the “no d…heads” policy during his 20 years with the All Blacks, is seen as helping Chelsea develop a winning culture amidst a huge buying spree of players.

Enoka helped the All Blacks to two World Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2015, Bledisloe Cup domination, and a long stint atop the world rankings. He has also worked with the Black Caps, Silver Ferns and rally driver Hayden Paddon.

Enoka will start a short-term consultancy that will be demanding at Chelsea, the big-spending London club.

In reporting Enoka’s appointment, The Telegraph said: “Head coach Graham Potter’s bloated squad is bursting with different personalities and egos, and there is an acknowledgement that Chelsea’s expensive new signings could flop under the weight of expectation if the right culture is not created.”

“That is the area Enoka has been hired to help with, and the 57-year-old will stress the importance of the team over the individual at a time when Potter has been left with the unenviable task of trying to help all of his new players settle in, while trying to make sure existing squad members do not become disillusioned.

“Successive managers and head coaches have questioned the mental fortitude of the Chelsea squad since the club last won the Premier League title in 2017.”

Enoka developed a culture at the All Blacks that saw each member of the squad taking responsibility for their actions and players often being answerable to team-mates rather than the coaches.

Enoka provided a simple definition of d…heads as “people putting themselves ahead of the team, people who think they’re entitled to things or expect the rules to be different for them, people operating deceitfully in the dark, or being unnecessarily loud about their work”.

“The management might not spot these counterproductive behaviours. The players and leaders themselves should call others out for their inflated egos,” Enoka told The Telegraph.

“Our coach Steve Hansen, a brilliant man, once came into a team meeting a few minutes late. As he walked in, one of the senior players stood up and said, ‘Coach, you can’t be late. Not again, please.’ So it’s actually the team monitoring this behaviour.

“A d…head makes everything about them. Often teams put up with it because a player has so much talent. We look for early warning signs and wean the big egos out pretty quickly. Our motto is, if you can't change the people, change the people.”

During his visit to Rarotonga last year, Enoka told Cook Islands News that he sensed plenty of sporting ability here but reverts to the solid work ethic.

“There are no silver bullets or magic solutions. There are no short cuts, performers work hard and elite performers work much harder.”

He emphasised discipline

“You have to have it; you have to have discipline. People need discipline to do whatever helps them succeed.

“No short cuts, especially when no one is watching.”

Enoka said there were two ways of doing things in the All Blacks.

“The right way and doing it again,” he said.

“You have a wish bone, a back bone and a funny bone, this suits the island way. Don’t grow a wish bone when you should be growing a back bone.

“Wishing contributes to hoping and hoping doesn’t work in parachuting or birth control,” he jokes.

  • Stuff/CI News