Ngezi problems bigger than Chiragwi Takesure Chiragwi

Veronica Gwaze Sports Reporter

A CONVERSATION with reigning Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Takesure Chiragwi tells the story of a very frustrated man, who however, understands the tight rope that he is walking.

The reigning Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Coach of the Year appears to have resigned to the fact that his future at Ngezi could just well be a ticking bomb, waiting to explode.

He has watched in dismay as Ngezi have gone off to a slow start to their title defence and will no doubt need patience of everyone associated with the Mhondoro miners as they look to get their groove back.

The champions have managed just one win, four draws, and two defeats to date with their shortcomings in attack, their biggest undoing.

Yet they invested in former FC Platinum and Azam midfielder Never Tigere, the combative Richard Hachiro who arrived from Chicken Inn, and Talent Chamboko, who was on the books of Manica Diamonds, in their bid to solidify their team.

Apart from their title defence, Ngezi will in August embark on their maiden CAF Champions League campaign.

However, it has emerged that problems at the platinum miners’ camp run deeper than what meets the eye, making Chiragwi’s task even tougher.

Although by being a coach, Chiragwi is held responsible for the results, there are indications that all is not rosy at the miners.

Zimpapers Sports Hub understands that there is some discord in the club’s boardroom, while their players are an unhappy lot.

Some of the players are reportedly disgruntled over unpaid signing-on fees and “unexplained delays in bonus and salary payments’’.

The club also owes each player US$400 winning bonuses for their 1-0 victory over Manica Diamonds at Baobab on March 30 and US$200 for their series of draws.

Another US$40 each is also outstanding from the team’s travelling allowances to Chisumbanje where they fell 2-1 to GreenFuel on April 6. According to insiders, the players have been left infuriated that no word has been coming from the club chiefs on the issue of outstanding payments.

“Even our salaries came late last month . . . we are not sure what the challenge is because they have never communicated the late or lack of payments to us,” said some players on condition of anonymity.

“We are not justifying our draws and defeats, but it is difficult to focus when you have baggage weighing you down.

“Remember we have responsibilities back at home.

“How is the coach even expected to motivate us in a situation like this?”

However, with the Zimplats, who are the corporate bedrock for the club, having some financial challenges owing to the global fall in the price of platinum, the problems seem to have inevitably hit Chiragwi’s team.

The platinum mine announced plans to downsize operations earlier this year, even offering mine workers a chance to take up voluntary retrenchment.

The Premiership champions are also hoping that striker Obriel Chirinda’s dispute with Dynamos is quickly resolved to enable the bustling forward to come in and strengthen their attack.

While they wait for the Chirinda dispute to be resolved, the games continue to come for Ngezi and this afternoon they face equally struggling Yadah at Baobab.

Yadah with six points in 16th place and a point behind Ngezi.

“We are in a difficult situation, being a player, you want to get paid so when it does not happen that way, it becomes difficult at times,” said another player.

“The team is fighting hard to win but unfortunately things are not happening the way we want them to be, the team have never changed their attitude and even the way we have taken every game.

“We need a win tomorrow (today), we should move out of the red zone, it would be unheard of for a team to be champions one season and fight relegation the next campaign.

“After a good year, putting a lot of focus on our dilemmas would negatively impact our performances and in the end, we fail to achieve our goals which is not what we want.”

Efforts to obtain a comment from club secretary Cloete Munjoma were futile.

But for now, Chiragwi will need to pull all his management skills and galvanise his side into kick-starting their season.

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