Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
IT was always coming and it has proven to be an expensive experiment for Ngezi Platinum Stars.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side yesterday went separate ways with their coach Benjani Mwaruwaru and his assistant Bongani Mafu.
This followed a spate of awful results the former Warriors skipper has brought to the table.
His dismissal at the Mhondoro club has come so fast for someone who arrived at the end of March amid high expectations given his status as a former superstar in his playing career.
The club confirmed through a statement late yesterday of the development.
“Ngezi Platinum Stars Football Club would like to inform all its stakeholders that the Club has parted ways with Head Coach Benjani Mwaruwari by mutual agreement,” read the statement.
“This was Benjani’s first coaching assignment and both the club and the coach agreed that it did not deliver the expected results hence the decision to separate was in the best interest of the club.
“Ngezi Platinum Stars wish Benjani all the best in his future endeavours.
“Meanwhile, the Board has appointed Assistant Coach Takesure Chiragwi as the interim head coach assisted by Klifton Kadurira.”
Untested and very much a greenhorn in these brutal coaching trenches, Mwaruwari was a surprise choice ahead of the high-profile gaffers who had applied for the same post left vacant by the resignation of veteran coach Rodwell Dhlakama.
But, there was no way Mwaruwari could have escaped the axe.
His methods were so pathetic and the results have been confirming that.
Presiding over 13 matches, the former Manchester City forward, who holds a UEFA A License, managed just three wins. Those wins came against relegation-fighting teams — ZPC Kariba, Tenax and Bulawayo City.
Under Mwaruwari’s tutelage, Ngezi Platinum, who on paper have one of the strongest teams on land, drew six times and lost four games, including the one against Yadah last Saturday that triggered his expulsion.
Although Ngezi Platinum have tried to be patient with him, they had made it clear of their expectations on the day Mwaruwari was unveiled in Mhondoro.
Club vice president Lysias Chiwozva, who officiated at that ceremony back in March, didn’t mince his words.
“The technical team that has been unveiled has its work cut out as the vision and goals, which the club aims to achieve, are well made out and are non-ambiguous,” Chiwozva said in March.
“It’s very clear, they should achieve the goals, that one is in black and white, there is no guess work on that.
“We are very clear on how we want our football project to work, and we will give all our support.
“We are also very clear about how we want Madamburo (Ngezi Platinum) to perform at the Baobab. That one is non-negotiable. The team should thrill the fans with results.”
And in seven home matches, Mwaruwari managed just a single win against Tenax.
Probably the worst mistake made by Mwaruwari was to be too emotional and listen too much to those surrounding him.
As soon as he got the reins, the gaffer recommended for the de-registration of Last Jesi, one of the best players in Zimbabwe, and Ghanaian defender Derrick Bonna. He didn’t even have the guts to reveal it to Bonna who only got to know about the development through a friend.
Jesi was told he should prove he wants to play and shun “truancy”.
Bonna has been pressing for his release (on loan) since he has remained in the cold but Mwaruwari had been keeping telling the player he ought to work harder to stand a chance of being re-registered.
The gaffer was so charmed with young talent which is a plus actually but the fascination was just too much or maybe misplaced.
Mwaruwari made sure some of the tried-and-tested players at the team, who were signed by Dhlakama who include Jesi and Bonna as well as Tapiwa Sibanda and Wellington Taderera, wouldn’t see much action under his watch.
The youngsters he trusted are simply still small boys in this competitive league.
Ngezi Platinum was becoming a team of young boys, an academy maybe, and the results have been showing.
Strikingly, Mwaruwaru rarely stuck with a regular First X1.
In 13 games, he still had no regular starting line-up. He kept on rotating the players and in all the matches he was in charge, only centre-back Polite Moyo and goalkeeper Nelson Chadya played all the matches. He has tried, at some point, to apportion the blame on the referees as well.