Chiragwi still recalls his old days Takesure Chiragwi

Veronica Gwaze Sports Reporter

IT is three months since he won the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Championship and yet Ngezi Platinum Stars head coach Takesure Chiragwi still feels like it is a dream.

Just at the weekend, he made yet another bold statement when he led his side to a 2-0 victory over Dynamos at Baobab Stadium to win the Castle Challenge Cup.

While many now view him as a young gaffer with loads of prowess in the field, “Deco” as he is affectionately known, feels differently about himself. He says, since his stint as a player, his journey has been filled with puzzles and parables that made it difficult for him to figure himself out. Chiragwi recalls his time as a diminutive fullback who rose through the ranks at CAPS United and various other Premiership sides locally. Ironically, it was during that time that most coaches who mentored him and those who watched him from afar spotted some rare leadership qualities in him. As if the football gods had already scripted his future, most of these gaffers started to treat and talk to him like one of them.

And this often left him puzzled.

“First it was Coach Rodwell Dhlakama, I was still a player and he was mentoring Division One side, Hartley when he said to me, young man I see a leader in you and it is high time you start living as such,” recalls the 40-year-old Chiragwi.

“After your training, I want you to come to Alex Sports Club and mentor these young boys (Hartley) and since then, my journey began.

“Lloyd Chitembwe also told me of these leadership skills and that he wanted me to develop in that aspect and I took his word.

“In 2004, Coach Norman Mapeza would often take me to his home and tell me a lot of motivational stories, teaching me how to be a phenomenal coach someday.”

Finally commencing his scripted journey, Chiragwi went on to hang his boots for a role in the dugout. Initially, he was to be a journeyman of sorts, with stints at Shabanie Mine, DC Academy, and Flame Lily amongs  other clubs.

He still recalls his time at Shabanie Mine and how Mapeza would follow up and guide him wherever he felt the young gaffer needed support. Renowned mentors Calisto Pasuwa and Charles Mhlauri also supported him as he established his name in coaching.

“I still doubted myself but, I think these guys already saw something in me and they looked beyond my age.” Interestingly in 2019, he reunited with Dhlakama, a man he calls “father,” in Mhondoro, Ngezi.

“I am now connecting the dots, realising that this man somehow came into my life as a blessing, when we met here at Ngezi, I could now see the light,” he said.

“Although here we were together for a short time because he left before the start of season 2022, I had already learned a lot from him, lessons that I use even today.”

Dhlakama’s departure left “Deco” in charge of Ngezi on an interim basis.

A few months later, Madamburo roped in former national team captain Benjani Mwaruwari as their substantive head coach.

Chiragwi was relegated to an assistant role.

As fate would have it, Chiragwi however, survived the chop that fell on Mwaruwari just after 13 games before he was fired.

Following his excellent performance as an interim coach, the Mhondoro-based side then went on to promote him as their new Head Coach in November 2022, on a three-year deal.

Unbeknown the young gaffer would finally lead them to their maiden championship.

“I feel like crying when I look back at the journey,” he stared into space, in silence.

“It was not easy for Ngezi to give me this job, also considering my age, but they took a risk and it paid off. I believe they are happy today because their ‘risky’ move paid off.

“I am not there yet, I still have a lot to learn but what I have achieved so far has somehow made me start believing in myself and those who spotted my potential back then.

“Had it not been for them, I would have never considered becoming a coach one day so this feat is a huge motivation for me, it has given me confidence and helped me to grow.”

With his sights now set on the CAF Champions League, Chiragwi is aware of the mammoth task he has at hand.

He notes that, since bagging the championship, there has been pressure to continue to do better.

“We need to surpass what we did last season, it is difficult to sustain whilst you are on top but you have to make sure that you remain focused and double your work rate.

“It is not easy, but that is how it is everywhere, the moment you achieve, the more the challenges.

“This will be a stern test, we need to bring on our A-game, confidence, and to work as a unit,” he said.

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