Petros Kausiyo and Paul Mundandi
RAHMAN GUMBO’S future as FC Platinum coach comes under severe scrutiny today following indications that he could lose his job should the miners fall to Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at
FC Platinum — runners-up to eventual champions Dynamos last season — have not had the best of starts this year managing just one win over struggling Black Mambas and securing three draws.
Although neither the coach nor club secretary Philemon Muvengwa were at liberty to shed light on the matter, sources close to the goings-on at the platinum miners revealed that Gumbo faces a must-win clash against Bosso to save his job.
The sources said the FC Platinum management is running out of patience with the Warriors coach who had been given a target of 15 points in their opening five games.
But the widely travelled former Bosso coach has managed only six out of a possible 12 points and a win this afternoon would do a lot to calm the nerves at the mine.
Gumbo, who had started this year’s campaign on a rather promising note after beating lowly Black Mambas 3-1 away at home, has seen the big spending miners fail to maintain consistency as they have drawn their last three assignments.
They drew 1-1 against Hwange at the Colliery, were held to a 2-2 deadlock by Shabanie Mine in the Zvishavane derby and at the weekend they settled for another 1-1 draw against log leaders Chicken Inn.
Gumbo did not preside over their last assignment against Chicken Inn as he was attending a Caf B Licence course in Harare, but the result did little to shake off speculation about his future.
“Rahman’s contract indicates that he has to win 15 points in his first five games of the season and with six points so far from four games, the team just has to win against Highlanders in order for the management to give him a chance.
“But if they lose to Highlanders at Mandava and with patience wearing thin within the management, he may be shown the exit door but really he is working on a performance-based contract,’’ the sources said.
Gumbo had promised an interview with The Herald in Zvishavane yesterday, but later turned down the appointment.
However, club secretary Muvengwa could not shed light on the coach’s fate but promised Highlanders a tough encounter as they are not prepared to lose another set of points in their own backyard.
Gumbo is not the only Premiership coach whose future has come under the spotlight with CAPS United’s Northern Irishman Sean Connor almost losing his job following Makepekepe’s poor start to the sea-son.
Black Mambas have already moved in to strengthen their technical department by hiring the experienced hand of Moses Chunga as technical adviser to coach John “Toto’’ Ncube and his crew.
Last season Highlanders were beaten 2-0 at the same venue but managed to make amends, collecting maximum points in Bulawayo when they won 1-0 putting a dent on FC Platinum’s hopes of clinching the league title.
“We respect Highlanders they are a big team and have a very good side. It is going to be our second match at home and come five o’clock our fans will be smiling”, said Muve- ngwa.
“Zvishavane fans are so lucky to have big matches in one month. We played Shabanie and tomorrow (today) its Highlanders. We have a better team this season as compared to last year.
“We are going to do great things and by the end of the season we will have achieved our goal that we failed to achieve last year.
“This year we have already won two trophies and that alone speaks volumes of a good side we have assembled and I am just urging our fans to be a little bit patient because we played three tight matches against Hwange, Shabanie and Chicken Inn and I am happy that we managed to collect three points from the three mat- ches.”
Gumbo however had a good start this season when he beat Swaziland Premiership kings Green Mamba in a Champions League preliminary round.
FC Platinum’s flirtation with the Champions League on their debut in the tournament however ended following a first round 3-2 aggregate defeat by Sudanese giants El Merre-ikh.
The miners have already bagged two domestic cups, the Bob 88 cup and the Independence Cup.
But the FC Platinum management has never made a secret of their ambitions to land the ultimate prize on the domestic scene — the championship.
After coming so agonisingly close last year, they believe that with the additions they have made to their team, this could be their year.
And when they get a return of six points from four matches, an ambitious side like FC Platinum naturally gets anxious.
But Gumbo — a championship winner with Bosso as well as in Malawi and Botswana — has seen enough in football to know that it might just be early days yet and that his charges could find their rhythm again and climb up the ladder.
That bid to rise up however starts his afternoon against a team that ironically gave him his fame as a player but more importantly for the Warriors mentor is the need to win today’s game and appease both his team’s management and fans.
FC Platinum acquired Zambian import Frank Mulambo who is expected to help stabalise their defence but since his arrival in the country he has been watching action from the terraces.
Norman Togara who was nearly shown the exit door at the start of the year has regained his form and forced himself back into the reckoning.
But if there is one player that FC Platinum sadly miss, it is chief striker Donald Ngoma who got injured in the match against Hwange in the Bob 88 Super cup final.
This afternoon Gumbo also faces Bekhimpilo Ncube and Mthulisi Maphosa who will have a point to prove to their former team after being offloaded at the start of the year.
FC Platinum v Highlanders (Mandava)
Blue Rangers v Hwange (Gwanzura)
Buffaloes v Dynamos (Sakubva)