Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Ex-Bosso coach Khumalo joins Masvingo

The Herald
From George Maponga in Masvingo

FORMER Highlanders coach Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo has joined struggling Premiership side Masvingo United as assistant coach to Fewdays Musonda.

Mashinkila-Khumalo was in charge of Southern Region Division One side East Rovers before agreeing to return to the Premiership.

Despite a disappointing run of three consecutive defeats, Musonda this week received a vote of confidence to stay in charge of the Tanda Tavaruva-owned club.

The Zambian mentor had helped Masvingo United to 18 points from 10 matches before successive defeats to Sporting Lions (2-3) at Gwanzura, CAPS United (0-5) at the National Sports Stadium and Highlanders (1-2) at Mucheke Stadium.

In the matches against Sporting Lions and Highlanders, Masvingo United were the first to find the net before conceding late second-half goals.

The drafting in of Khumalo into the coaching department will see former assistant coach Maclass Mapanga becoming assistant manager to Cornelius Tavaruva. Mapanga temporarily took charge of the club last year after nomadic coach Lovemore Nyabeza quit for greener pastures in Botswana immediately after sealing Masvingo United*s place in the Premiership.

Masvingo United club secretary Nathan Asidi yesterday confirmed the appointment of Khumalo.

"He (Khumalo) started working on Tuesday and will be assisting Fewdays on the bench. We think that he will bring some fresh ideas to the team after a three-match winless streak," said Asidi.

Asidi also dispelled rumours that Musonda had been relieved of his duties, saying the Zambian was still the head coach at the club.

"Musonda is still Masvingo United head coach but we felt that it was crucial to bring in someone experienced to help him on the bench otherwise the feeling is that the three consecutive loses were just a result of a temporary bad spell affecting the club.

Asidi added that the club had also acquired the services of former CAPS United players Tinei Meda and Itai Gwandu in an attempt to strengthen their squad which he said required reinforcements in almost all its departments.

He also revealed that the club had lifted the suspension on former skipper Ackim Muganyi and goalkeeper Muzondiwa Gonese for breaching the club rules and did not feature in a losing cause against Bosso last Sunday.

DeMbare play Shabanie as underdogs: Mumba

The Herald
By Augustine Hwata

DYNAMOS coach Keegan Mumba said his side are going into the match against Shabanie Mine as underdogs despite their back-to-back wins over the asbestos miners last season.

Dynamos beat Shabanie 3-2 in the first game at Maglas Stadium last year before winning the reverse fixture 2-0 through an Agent Sawu brace at Rufaro Stadium in October.

Mumba, who has already conceded that his team will not win the league title this season, said pressure was on the hosts to win this game.

"We have been playing well outside Harare of late and I think that will see us doing better when we meet Shabanie on Sunday.

"Looking at the games we lost against CAPS United, Highlanders and drawing with Lancashire Steel, I found that our players fade quickly.

"But we worked on that and they lasted the game against Motor Action and have even prepared slightly different from the previous ones.

"I know what Shabanie are capable of doing but Dynamos have been playing better outside Harare and the pressure will now be on Shabanie themselves to win at home.

"Shabanie are at home and lie second on the log but for us we are just starting to play well again," said Mumba.

Harare does not seem to have been Dynamos’ favourite hunting ground this season as Zimbabwe Saints stunned them 2-4 in their opening league match at Rufaro in March.

Dynamos have been far from convincing in their Harare matches where they have won against Sporting Lions (3-1), Amazulu (3-0) and Cables (3-0) with the other wins coming away in Sundowns and Eiffel Flats.

It was unlike last year when Dynamos’ wins at Rufaro were routine.

Mumba said his side was slowly picking up their scattered pieces since a new interim executive led by Jimmy Finch was put into place by the Sports Commission.

"Turnout at training sessions has now improved as we are getting 100 percent everyday.

"Everyone is now coming and we have the best possible pool of players to select a team every time now," said Mumba.

During the past months, there has been a player-power crisis at Dynamos were some players chose to miss training under then head coach Luke Masomere who has now crossed over to Sporting Lions.

But despite going into the match as underdogs on the basis of their current form, Mumba said his side would also be searching for maximum points.

"We were on top of the situation against Motor Action for most of the game but we failed to utilise the chances.

"I am not saying that Motor Action did not play well as they also created their own chances but we could have done better," said Mumba.

The Zambian coach is also reading a lot into Motor Action’s win 2-1 win over Shabanie last month.

"If we held Motor Action and they had beaten Shabanie then we can also win there although playing against Bambo is never easy," said Mumba.

This time maybe Maxwell Dube will remember to carry the right shorts while Dynamos will welcome back Clive Mwale who missed the last game through suspension.

Norman Maroto has also recovered from injury while former Shabanie player Francis Chandida knows Maglas like the back of his hand.

But Dynamos fans are keeping their fingers crossed that defensive linkman Leo Kurauzvione will have recovered from a knock he picked up last weekend.

Phiri can afford peaceful sleep

The Petros Kausiyo Interview

HE had a torrid time since he assumed control of CAPS United in 1999 and was even under pressure at one stage to throw in the towel and let someone else take over the franchise.

But after his side’s brilliant start to the 2004 season club director Twine Phiri can afford to have long peaceful nights of sleep.

This week the 37-year-old CAPS boss opened his heart and soul to The Herald on his life with the Premiership log leaders.

Question: This year has been the best start to a season for CAPS in your tenure as club director, tell us what it feels to see the team go for 14 matches without loss?

Answer: Before the start of this season I said to myself that it’s either I am into football or I am out of it, so I introduced competition by bringing in new players like Cephas Chimedza and some from Zambia and Malawi. We also have a memorandum of understanding with Malawi Telecom Wanderers, which will enable us to also get players from them.

I was working with the director of football Charles Mhlauri and the executive since last year to build this team.

Q: But Mhlauri was in Germany for sometime and you had Fewdays Musonda as coach earlier on last year?

A: In fact, I asked Charles to go to Germany after my meeting with Reinhard Fabisch (former Zimbabwe coach) in Nairobi, Kenya, and he offered to help facilitate for a high-level coaching course.

Fabisch also assisted in drawing up a programme for CAPS, which could bring success to the team, then we started implementing the programme together with chairman Andy Hodges and Charles.

But when Charles went to Germany we had a terrible season, I had brought in Fewdays Musonda but things never happened and Musonda disappeared as the pressure had mounted.

Q: You also personally came under pressure from the club’s supporters?

A: Yes it’s true, last year was a very tough year, it was very hard to implement changes, the fans had become impatient and even some of my guys did not want Charles to remain coach of the team but I stuck with him and said for a man who had just attained a Class A coaching licence in Germany, he should be given a chance. I had also put in my resources to send him to Germany.

But yes the pressure seemed to be just too much, the team was losing, people didn’t seem to accept me and when you have your valuable property damaged it can be frustrating. My family, business associates and friends were also urging me to leave.

Q: So how did you manage to turn things around?

A: When I first came to CAPS in 1999 towards 2000 no one knew about me but I said I wanted to turn the club into more like a company and have a business approach to the way things were being done.

However, the team had a few good players, we needed to beef up the squad but at the same time the economy was very tough and I also needed time to settle and learn but the supporters did not have the patience, they just needed the results.

Q: So how did you convince the supporters to back you?

A: Through talking to people who had been in football I knew I had to learn very fast and after the ugly incidents at Gwanzura I said to myself I am not a coward and I went back to the fans, listened to them and I also assured them that I was trying my best and told them that if I was going to fail this year then they could look for some people to take over.

It did put us under pressure to play well this season though and I am glad that the fans understood and as we speak our supporters, including some from the corporate world, have organised buses to travel to Bulawayo for the Highlanders game. The response from the supporters has been very encouraging.

Q: If last year was the most difficult period for you, which has been the highest point where you felt you were really on top of the world?

A: I haven’t reached the highest point but one day when I do, I will call you and tell you when I have been there.

Q: There have been very few, if any player boycotts of training or revolts at CAPS, what has been the secret?

A: I think I should applaud my executive and the players for that. We brought a professional approach into the club and told the players that whoever has a problem needed to talk to the executive and not the man next to him because their problems also become CAPS’ problems.

We have also tried to ensure that we provide the resources such as training equipment and we secured 100 pairs of boots, tracksuits and three sets of training kit. Each player now has a ball to himself at training and it’s all part of the professional approach that we have taken.

Q: Two weeks into the season tragedy struck CAPS with the loss of Blessing Makunike, Gary Mashoko and Shingi Arlon as well as the two fans in the car accident. What impact has this had on the team and how did you handle the tragedy?

A: Ah, on this one I should bring in the Almighty. When tragedy struck I asked why it came to me and CAPS and how I managed to go through it still baffles me but all I know is that God helped me and we had the support from all corners.

Because our players lost their colleagues it also gave them the courage to work hard and be united, we always dedicate our wins to the late players and supporters.

But it was really a torrid time for us to lose some of the dedicated CAPS sons.

Q: There is always some pressure on local clubs to look back and try and give something to former players, what is your relationship like with former CAPS players?

A: Most of the former players I have known them through Shacky Tauro, who I must say has been my best friend since I was at school. Through Shacky it has been easy to communicate with them and we have started working on a programme to assist former and current players and as we grow it will create more avenues for some of them to be taken on board within our structures.

Q: Turning to the Premiership, what are your views on the levels of competition in the league?

A: I always compare our teams to those from outside the country and I have no doubt we have some of the best talent in Africa. It is unfortunate that we like in-house fights, these boardroom squabbles are the biggest impediment to our football reaching better levels. I hope someone will soon help bring an end to all the madness.

Q: We haven’t heard of any new CAPS signings since the mid-season transfer window. Does this mean you are satisfied with the material you have?

A: In football you can never be satisfied, although we have not signed anyone yet we are still looking around and we intend to add one or two. We haven’t lost any player to any club either.

Q: The forthcoming back-to-back showdown with Highlanders, what significance does it have to you and CAPS’ aspirations?

A: All I can say is that the back-to-back matches have come at the right time for us, it is an exciting period but really I will leave everything to the players and if they do what I told them they will enjoy it.

Q: Do you mean in terms of incentives?

A: There are some big incentives for them and something better for them in life actually.

Q: People have already touted your team as this year’s champions, do you think your years of investment have finally paid off for you?

A: I will not discuss the issue of the championship now. Maybe my players could but looking at the way we had structured things we were targeting next year for the title because this year was to be the final year of the rebuilding exercise so it will be a big, big bonus to everyone if the championship comes early. God does wonder, you know.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Warriors stun Rwanda

Zimbabwe Standard
By Lloyd Mutungamiri

Rwanda (0) 0 Zimbabwe (1) 2

SKIPPER Peter Ndlovu and midfield kingpin Tinashe Nengomashe struck in either half for Zimbabwe as Rahman Gumbo’s men stunned Rwanda 2-0 in Kigali to bring The Warriors’ campaign for both the World and Nations Cup back on track.

Ndlovu blasted in Zimbabwe’s opener in the 40th minute before Nengomashe sealed the win against run of play to come out with maximum points from the cauldron of Kigali.

The result lifted The Warriors to second position in Group 4 on five points, after early pace-setters Angola drew 2-all against Gabon in Libreville and with Nigeria prevailing 1-0 over Algeria in Abuja, Zimbabwe found themselves running the Super Eagles a close second on the log standings, a flattering scenario after the team came unstuck against the Desert Foxes of Algeria two weeks ago to the day.

Yesterday’s results renewed Zimbabwe’s hopes for a berth at both the continental and world showpiece showcases, and boosted the chances of Gumbo and assistant coach Brenna Msiska, being given full mandate for the whole safari which stretches into 2005, as the assignment in war-ravaged Kigali was quite an intimidating one.

Resurgent Ndlovu chose the grand stage to answer his critics in emphatic fashion, sweeping The Warriors into the lead before Kaizer Chiefs’ talisman Nengomashe capped a memorable match, to give Zimbabwe a romantic result that set fans back home in ruptures of unbridled joy.

After subdued displays against both Gabon and Algeria, the Sheffield United striker picked up his game against Swaziland last week and yesterday’s rampaging form helped silence restive fans who had started questioning Ndlovu’s ability to drive The Warriors to the Promised land.

But Sukuzonke was a menace all afternoon, opening the floodgates before Nengomashe — nicknamed Father — earned himself a place among Zimbabwe’s football elite, doubling Zimbabwe’s advantage 34 minutes into the second half to shock the home fans into silence.

And with Angola, who led Gabon 1-0 going at half time, crumbling in the second half to eventually scramble a 2-2 draw in Libreville to surrender pole position to the Nigerians, suddenly Zimbabwe are back in business and now have the chance to make it not only to Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 but also to Germany, venue for the World Cup the same year.

The Warriors faced certain heartbreak going into yesterday’s match after Rwanda had clobbered Gabon 3-1 at the same venue in their second assignment on June 19. But The Warriors would not be intimidated, giving a polished performance that had every Zimbabwean back home purring with delight.

And with their next assignment being a home tie against Nigeria, The Warriors can no longer be discounted from grabbing the sole ticket from their group for Germany as Nigeria laboured to subdue a battling Algeria at home.

When it appeared Zimbabwe had all but withdrawn from the race for the world’s greatest sporting gathering in Germany, suddenly The Warriors are back in the spotlight, confirming their status as southern Africa’s emerging footballing nation.