FOLLOWING a great season last term, during which they finished a respectable fifth on the Castle Lager Premiership final log standings in their debut campaign, there was only one direction for Manica Diamonds to go.
And that means planning for tomorrow while taking care of today.
Easing seasoned striker, Steven “Dealer” Sibanda, into coaching by assisting him attain Level One badges deftly dovetails into the club’s grand scheme of preparing for the future.
Dealer, who has worn the armband and has vast experience following stints with Mutare City Rovers, FC Platinum, Buffaloes and How Mine, is an ideal pick.
Good going, Manica Diamonds.
A similar commitment and arrangement has seen the Gem Boys parachute two of their sons who helped them earn Premiership promotion — Hibron “Adhala Chommiey” Makukutu and Clemence “Skude” Mukudu – into coaching roles.
The pair, now armed with Level Two qualifications, trains the team’s developmental side — Manica Diamonds Juniors — who compete in the Zifa Eastern Region Division 2A.
Last season they vied for promotion play-offs as they seek elevation into Division One.
Even as they are taking toddler steps on this grand Premier Soccer League voyage, the Gem Boys’ gaze remains firmly fixed on investing in both the present and the future. They are out to leave a mark.
Kudos to Manica Diamonds for honing the mentoring skills of some of the eastern border city’s sons. For them, charity begins at home. Sustaining this will surely take the club far as the transition will ensure continuity since it incorporates players boasting of the club’s identity.
It also equips the beneficiaries with skills to survive when the sun sets on their playing careers. Long after they hang up their boots, they will have the capacity to continue being actively involved in the game.
While history of the local game is replete with sad tales of clubs ditching injured players and ignoring their need for treatment and rehabilitation, the Mutare diamond miners’ gesture is laudable.
The strategy is aimed at instilling a philosophy which permeates the whole institution — the Manica Diamonds way of life in football – as ex-Manchester United and Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal often says. Harare giants, Dynamos, have set precedence on this issue and are worth emulating.
They have enjoyed their most successful spells under former sons Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa and Kallisto Pasuwa. The Glamour Boys also lead the way in producing coaches from their former players. These have gone on to do really well. Think of Moses Chunga, Taurai Mangwiro and Tonderai Ndiraya, among others.
On the global arena, Barcelona’s arguably most glorious era came under the stewardship of their own sons who also happen to be their former captains — Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
Former Three Lions skipper, Wayne Rooney, has had his trek into coaching fast-tracked by England’s Football Association, as they have earmarked him for a future role in the squad.
If it is about football that you care about, let’s share the cheer because we are made for the game and are mad about the game!
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