Senior Sports Reporter
THE decision by the Dynamos’ leadership to suspend their coach Tonderai Ndiraya could come back to haunt a promising campaign to tame a prolonged title drought.
The Harare football giants, who had made their best start in years despite complaints from fans about the quality of their game, appeared to rock their boat on Saturday following disagreements in a meeting between the coach and some members of the executive.
Ndiraya was asked not to report for training starting today and Dynamos have not revealed the reasons for the suspension. This has fuelled speculation within and outside the institution, ahead of the resumption of the Castle Lager Premiership games this week.
Ndiraya was not available for comment yesterday. The Herald, however, has been made to understand that the coach has been frozen out on allegations bordering on insubordination and could be called for a hearing.
In his absence, the team will be under the watch of his assistants Naison Muchekela and Gift “Umbro’’ Muzadzi. DeMbare players are expected to be briefed of the situation when they resume training today.
The weekend league fixtures were suspended by the PSL leadership to pave way for the security indaba that was expected to come up with recommendations to address the scourge of hooliganism that ruined Dynamos, Highlanders and FC Platinum matches recently.
It was not clear whether Ndiraya would be back in time and take charge of DeMbare’s next match against Herentals expected this weekend.
With the high profile Harare derby against CAPS United coming hard on the heels, the least that DeMbare wanted was discord within their camp.
Already the rumour mill has been in overdrive claiming that the DeMbare executive was lining up a foreign coach, with names such as former Dynamos player Kaitano Tembo being thrown around.
However, the 51-year-old, who was recently sacked by South Africa’s SuperSport United, is understood to not be interested in coaching in Zimbabwean club football, a move his camp believes “would be taking a step back.”
But the decision by the DeMbare leadership to suspend Ndiraya could be as detrimental as it was shocking. The spat with their coach comes at a time the team is sitting in second position in the log standings.
Ndiraya has presided over 15 league matches this season, garnering 30 out of a possible 45 points. DeMbare are just a point behind leaders Chicken Inn, with just two rounds of matches before the season reaches the halfway point.
Ndiraya was last month voted Coach of the Month as DeMbare were unbeaten in nine straight league matches until last Sunday when their match against Highlanders was abandoned due to crowd trouble, with the Bulawayo giants leading 1-0.
But a member of the team yesterday said the decision to suspend the coach is likely to affect their campaign, as DeMbare are looking to end a seven-year title drought.
“The DeMbare technical team has been rebuilding this team in the last three or so years and when we started this campaign the goal was to fight for the title. It’s been long since Dynamos lifted the league title and everyone was focused on that until now.
“There is uncertainty. I am sure we will get to hear more at training tomorrow (today). The focus is now on the coach and the executive and it will obviously impact the mentality of the players and the technical team. I think we have just become our own undoing because of this.
“Where there are conflicts, obviously results are also likely to be affected. The other teams will also take advantage of the turmoil. The way we had started this season had given the supporters belief and, with all those expectations, if things go wrong there could be chaos,” said the DeMbare insider.
“I wish there was a better way to resolve whatever the issues are there. You may not know this but the situation in the dressing room is quite volatile.
“The players have been complaining about the unpaid bonuses for the games that we have won. They had decided to play on while waiting for the issues to be resolved largely because of their respect for the coach. But some of them even thought that Tonde (Ndiraya) was being paid behind their back. But now things could go out of control,” he added.
Dynamos spokesperson Tinashe Farawo yesterday said he will not comment further.
“So far there is no update with regards to the temporary suspension of the coach. If there is anything, we will definitely use our official communication channels to keep our stakeholders abreast of the events within the club. Of course, I have seen some wild speculations going on at the weekend.
“But I am not going to say anything beyond what is in the statement released on Saturday. That is the position at the moment. Just give the club time to sort out the things,” said Farawo.
On Saturday, the DeMbare spokesperson released a statement which read: “We write to advise all our stakeholders that our head coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, has been temporarily asked not to report for duty with immediate effect pursuant to a meeting that was held on May 12, 2022.
“The club is not in a position to discuss details of this development until internal due process is finalised.”
All this comes as Dynamos have been fined US$4 000 by the PSL Disciplinary Committee while their team manager Richard Chihoro was slapped with a US$2 000 fine for disturbances which rocked their 2-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Barbourfields in March this year.
The club appeared before the Disciplinary Committee on March 29 and were found guilty of “disrupting normal proceedings of a match.”
DeMbare and fierce rivals Highlanders are set to face more sanctions from the PSL for crowd trouble that led to the abandonment of their match at Barbourfields last weekend.