Dhlakama accused of corruption AXED . . . Rodwell Dhlakama has been relieved of his duties by Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter

NGEZI Platinum Stars interim coach Takesure Chiragwi maintains it is business as usual at the Mhondoro side after he was handed the reins to lead the team ahead of the resumption of the Castle Lager Premiership football next week.

Chiragwi was appointed the head coach of Ngezi Platinum Stars yesterday, taking over the hot seat from Rodwell Dhlakama, who could be on his way out as he is facing serious allegations of bribery.

The club said they have given their former head coach an indefinite leave, although they did not explain the reasons behind the radical decision.

However, sources close to the club said the former Monomotapa and Chapungu United gaffer was axed over player transfer corruption allegations, which do not border well with the club’s corporate-based establishment.

Dhlakama joined the Mhondoro side mid-term of the 2019 season and later became substantive coach at the end of that season.

During that period, the seasoned gaffer managed to turn the team, which was left by Erol Akbay, into a force that was able to finish the season in the top four and also got the Chibuku Super Cup silver medal.

The former Monomotapa coach was expected to lead the club’s onslaught this year as one of the favourites to win the league championship.

Late last year, they grabbed another Chibuku Super Cup runners-up position after they lost to rivals FC Platinum in the final.

But Dhlakama will not be part of the club anymore amid a flurry of allegations from the players. Some players allege that they were forced to forfeit part of their signing-on fees to him as a way of thanking him.

Sources close to the club said the coach had planned more underhand dealings this season and bring in new faces to the club while offloading a host of players.

Dhlakama yesterday refused to comment on the allegations as well as his departure from the club.

His successor Chiragwi yesterday said he was hoping to continue with the plans that they had put in place while working as assistant to Dhlakama as it was only the title that had changed.

“There is nothing much that has changed. We have been working together as a team and we will continue to work together. It is just a title that has changed.

“We will continue with the same preparations, same focus, so nothing has changed in terms of our goals. I am not new to the club. What was in the pipeline just remains so,” said Chiragwi.

The new coach’s immediate task is to make sure that the club, which is still unbeaten after three rounds of matches, will maintain a good start in the championship race that resumes on February 12.

The allegations against Dhlakama, however, have not been substantiated by the club. Yesterday, the club’s chief executive officer, Nyasha Kadenge, confirmed the elevation of their assistant coach.

In a statement, she said Dhlakama had gone on an indefinite leave, which is a polite way used by most clubs when they sack their coaches.

“We confirm that the Ngezi Platinum Stars Football Club board has appointed Takesure Chiragwi as the interim Head Coach of Ngezi Platinum Stars FC with immediate effect.

“Before this appointment, Takesure Chiragwi was the first assistant coach of the club. Rodwell Dhlakama, the Head Coach, is on a mutually agreed indefinite leave of absence which has given rise to the appointment of Chiragwi.

“We are confident that Takesure Chiragwi is well equipped to lead the team as we resume PSL football action after the AFCON break,” said Kadenge in a statement.

Ngezi Platinum Stars, who are among the favourites to win the league this year, have also added some depth to their squad.

Former Triangle striker Delic Murimba and ex-Cranborne Bullets right back Tapiwa Sibanda, who was in the Warriors provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, have both inked contracts at the Mhondoro team.

The club have also decided against renewing the contracts of Devon Chafa and Nigel Makumbe.

They have also lost their top striker Nyasha Chintuli to Manica Diamonds.

But Ngezi Platinum Stars still have a number of experienced players as well as talented young players.

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