Sometimes hunches can pay off.
You can’t always trust your gut. You have to think with your head.
We know that you can blow on some dice, but you just ain’t going to see your numbers come up when you want them to.
And even when you go with logic, your best-laid plans are not always going to produce the results you want.
So the eternal dilemma of following your heart or trusting the plan is always being played up against each other when it comes to big decisions we have to make.
It’s the same when it comes to sport – where the payoff of statistical science and pure gambles decide fortune with the same predictability as flipping a coin.
Players will never do exactly as they are told and no result is going to go your way no matter how well you plan to succeed.
And sometimes those two conundrums condense around the talent and form of one player.
Last week we saw Arsenal finally let Mesut Ozil go.
The German playmaker is capable of producing match-winning moments.
But as much as he is praised for his amazing ability to apply an assist, he is also criticised for defensive discipline, which means the coach’s plan is not being executed.
Ozil had been frozen out of the side since before the coronavirus pandemic started.
Even before Mikel Arteta arrived in December 2019, Ozil was having problems convincing former boss Unai Emery.
And he never won the trust of the coach back because he was not producing the magic to win matches.
That’s the enigma of match winners – you trust them until they can’t make their magic anymore.
But while Ozil is gone, there is a player at Cape Town City who is producing the goods – Mdu Mdantsane.
The diminutive forward has scored eight goals in 12 matches for the Citizens, helping the team to fourth in the league as the most feared and productive attack in the division with 25 goals.
However, City also have the second-leakiest defence.
And if you ask coach Jan Olde Riekerink about Mdantsane’s form, it comes with a caveat about his contribution to the team’s structure.
While he praises him, he is also very critical of his top goalscorer, who he says doesn’t give them the cover they need in defence.
But giving Mdantsane the freedom to focus on hurting opposition defences and demanding the discipline to help his own is a balancing act that Riekerink has to deal with.
As long as the goals keep flying in, Mdantsane will be a key player for City. So while players love a coach that trusts them, a coach wants a player who works for the team.
When it actually comes down to it, after all the planning and gambling, the man who makes the team win holds the key to the mystery of success.