BEING a football coach can be a tough task because, just like in journalism where scribes are judged by the stories they churn out, gaffers are also widely regarded as only being as good as their last game in charge. Each time a team does not do well, therefore, their trainers are firmly thrust into the firing line. Coaches usually become the first and biggest casualties should a culling exercise ensue in order to stem a side’s slide.
Sir Alex Ferguson, a distinguished colossus of the game and familiar with the dugout exertions, was absolutely spot on when he observed that “Well, football is a hard game; there’s no denying it.
It’s a game that can bring out the worst in you, at times.” This rings particularly true about those tacticians who have not had a sniff at even a tiny fraction of what Fergie has achieved in the game; where trigger-happy clubs have earned the notoriety of chopping and changing choking coaches in a hiring-and-firing marry-go-round. To save their blushes, most clubs usually sacrifice coaches. The guillotine is thus ever hovering above them.
And our local Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is no exception. Almost a third of the Premiership teams – Dynamos, Mutare City Rovers, Chapungu, Shabanie Mine and Bulawayo City – have changed or had a shakeup in their technical setup during the course of this season.
Curiously, these teams are in the bottom half of the log and all are virtually fighting to beat the drop that it is hardly surprising that they have shored up things in face of their struggles.
Generally, while the big guns will be hard-pressed to find “competent” replacements the small fish would just be happy to recycle coaches.
Below we take a look at some of the choking coaches who may get chopped and changed . . .
Lloyd Mutasa (Dynamos)
Samaita is literally a dead man walking although the club executive recently threw its weight behind him. His is one of the biggest jobs in the land and crunching DeMbare’s numbers in the league makes his job even more difficult.
That he has already been fired and reinstated this season gives a clearer picture of his precarious situation. Not under any persecution at the moment, he may eventually face prosecution.
Lloyd Chitembwe (CAPS United)
He became the first coach in the recent past to fail to finish in the Top Four following being crowned champions in the previous season (MaKepeKepe finished fifth last season after winning the title in 2016). Oftentimes the Green Machine fans have vented out their frustration on him during his reign. Especially after the 1-2 loss at home to Triangle, many MaKepeKepe faithful failed to swallow and digest that one of their former sons Phineas Bamusi, who only last season was pulling the green shirt, had returned to haunt them with a buccaneering performance. But just how did Chitembwe let this boy – who continues to play a starring role for Triangle, who are threatening to usurp fourth spot from CAPS United – go, the CAPS United multitude must have been left soliloquising!
Tonderai Ndiraya (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
Unless, of course, if Madamburo want to go the incremental and cumulative growth way every season, Ndiraya is in a spot of bother right now. From losing a seemingly comfortable lead at the summit of the league and falling five points off the pace in the race to getting knocked out of the Chibuku Super Cup, the Mhondoro miners’ gaffer must be feeling the heat right now.
Will he deliver on what he was hired to accomplish? Over the past weeks the gap has been from four to two points and now widened to five. To think that this is the team that won 12 and drew two of their opening 14 games and as runaway leaders were threatening to steamroll past all opponents! Rumours of him being replaced by multiple championship-winning coach and former boss at Dynamos Callisto Pasuwa once circulated.
Ndega Matsika (Mutare City Rovers)
Joseph Takaringofa and Kenny Kachara before him have been deemed not good enough to help Gusha Bhora stay up, but will he steer this ship clear of the turbulent and murky relegation waters threatening to sink them? Rovers have huffed and puffed under the stewardship of the ex-Mighty Warriors goalkeepers’ trainer that is he good enough to help them preserve their Premiership status?
Bekithemba Ndlovu (Bulawayo City)
Beke has lost all the eight games he has presided over since taking over full charge last month and his team are anchoring the table.
His two predecessors Darlington Dodo and Amini Soma-Phiri have been booted out yet under him the team continues to struggle. Will he last the distance?
Alexio Sijoni (Shabanie Mine)
With Takesure Chiragwi and Taku Shariwa now history at the asbestos miners, will this unheralded gaffer turn around the fortunes of the Zhishavane side or the inevitable fate will befall him?
With more twists and turns expected before the season finally meanders to its business end, some coaches may fall by the wayside in the intervening period given how cruel and thankless this job can get.
If it is about football that you care let’s share the cheer because we are made for the game, mad about the game!