Mhofu throws in the towel
Eddie Chikamhi and Tedious Manyepo in HARARE and Dennis Kagonye in KARIBA—
ZIMBABWE’S most successful football coach Sunday Chidzambwa dropped a bombshell yesterday when he revealed he will quit his post as ZPC Kariba head coach at the end of the season after a brutal, but frank admission he had failed to deliver in the two years he has been in charge of the team. The 65-year-old gaffer, who guided Dynamos to seven domestic league titles and a runners-up spot in the CAF Champions League in 1998, was hired in July 2015 to replace Saul Chaminuka with the mandate to transform ZPC Kariba into champions of domestic football. However, after a 0-2 home defeat at the hands of a Ngezi Platinum side guided by one of the coaches he helped nurture, Tonderai Ndiraya, at Nyamhunga, Chidzambwa announced he will be ending his relationship with ZPC Kariba at the end of the season.
On a dramatic day in the domestic Premiership, champions CAPS United flexed their muscles again and beat 2015 champions Chicken Inn 1-0 at the National Sports Stadium last night to poke holes into the Gamecocks’ hopes of winning the league championship this season. Makepekepe also sent their bitter rivals Dynamos, who would have been dislodged as overnight leaders in the championship race had the Bulawayo side won last night, into delirium after Dominic Chungwa struck late in the game to condemn the Gamecocks to a second straight loss in the league.
Gumbo’s men lost their last league match in their backyard when they went down 1-2 to Yadah Stars in Bulawayo, with the Harare side scoring the winning goal exactly the same minute Chungwa scored the winner for the Green Machine, before also crashing out of the Chibuku Super Cup at the first round at Ascot last Saturday after they walked off the pitch in protest over a penalty awarded to their opponents. Last night’s results also drew CAPS United into the picture for a remote challenge for the championship as they are only 11 points behind second-placed Ngezi Platinum but with a game in hand and, should they win that match, they could shed that deficit to eight points with 24 points still to play for in the championship race. It’s a measure of how the champions have turned around their season that their fans can even dream of a possible successful defence of their championship, even though chances of that happening remain remote right now, when only a few weeks ago they were being mocked by their opponents as possible relegation material.
The Green Machine’s next assignment is a game against FC Platinum at Mandava this weekend and, not for the first time in the past few weeks, they will take on an opponent that is in the running for the league championship. Norman Mapeza’s men were frustrated by an inspired Yadah Stars, who have shown a lot of life in recent weeks, in a tight match at Rufaro yesterday. There were chances for the Zvishavane miners but the best of the lot fell to the home team, who have been punching above their weight in the last few weeks in which they have also beaten Chicken Inn, and Munyaradzi Chiwara could have won them the game late in the match.
The Yadah defence, which has now not conceded a goal in the last 345 minutes, stood firm at Rufaro and frustrated Mapeza’s men. But the bombshell of yesterday’s events came from Kariba when Chidzambwa, whose team has been having a torrid time of late, announced he would be walking away from his job at the end of the season because he had failed to deliver. It’s a measure of the brutality of this league that only four months ago, ZPC Kariba were top of the table, amid rising expectations in the resort town that they could win the league championship, before things started going downhill.
Yesterday’s defeat came against the background of a depressing home loss in the Chibuku Super Cup when they were knocked out by Shabanie Mine last weekend and Chidzambwa believes the time has come for another person to take over the captaincy of the ship. “I have failed the community, my employers and I think it’s a proper thing to quit and I will see off my contract up to the end of December,” he said.
Clive Augusto (13th minute) and Tichaona Mabvura in the 40th minute got the goals that powered Ngezi Platinum to victory at Nyamhunga yesterday. Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya was happy with the big win. “It’s a sweet victory for us and I’m happy for the guys as the win put us back among the leading pack, it’s now obvious that we are also gunning for the championship and we must be consistent for us to clinch the big prize,” said Ndiraya.