Ray Bande Senior Reporter
THE national Under 17 mentor Rodwell Dhlakama has revealed that, if presented with a chance, joining a team like Manica Diamonds needs no second thoughts.
Struggling Manica Diamonds were left without a head coach following the sacking of their founding mentor Luke Masomere due to a string of poor results a fortnight ago.
As debate on the most suitable coach to replace Masomere rages on in the eastern border city, Dhlakama’s name has featured prominently with some pundits suggesting that he was the best candidate to take over the reins at the Mutare club.
What even makes Dhlakama’s curriculum vitae more sellable to Manica Diamonds is the fact that he has twice, managed to save Chapungu from relegation in 2017 and 2018.
“Home is always the best. For me, if given the chance to join a team like Manica Diamonds, it would be an emotional return to city that shaped my career. Obviously, this would be a chance to reunite with my old folks and more importantly coming back in a way that will add value to the game of football in my homeland,” said Dhlakama when asked about prospects of coaching a club in Manicaland.
Dhlakama – who has managed to turn things around at Castle Lager Premiership outfit Chapungu with limited resources at his disposal – became a beneficiary of the Fifa Club Licensing regulations being enforced by Zifa after being appointed the club’s technical manager last season.
The move by the Gweru airmen was meant to ensure they fit the Fifa Club Licensing bill.
As a coach, Dhlakama qualified for the Under 17 Africa Youth Championships in Algeria (2009) and was part of a technical set-up that qualified for the group stages in the African Championships League after eliminating giants Asec Mimosa (Ivory Coast), Ajax Cape Town (South Africa), Simba FC (Tanzania) and Miembeni (Zanzibar).
He also won the top flight league and major cup tournaments in Swaziland in 2012 with Manzini Sundowns.
The former Hotsprings Secondary School teacher is no stranger to football in Manicaland where he played lower division football in Mutare and at one point sponsored a football tournament in Chipinge during his days at Monomotapa.
He also played for CPMZ and Zupco Mutare.