THE last five rounds of the just-ended Castle Lager Premiership League season helped Manica Diamonds new coach, Jairos Tapera to see the toxicity of having a player average age of 33, and the former national Under-20 coach is determined to use the off-season transfer gap to drastically bring that number down to 25, a process that will see many being offloaded.
Tapera joined Manica Diamonds from Triangle with five rounds of the 2021-2022 season remaining after the club’s poor string of results resulted in Johanisi Nhumwa losing his job.
The Gem Boys flattered to deceive after an impressive start to the season, but somehow failed to maintain their glitz and the team started dropping crucial points along the way.
Much was expected from the Mutare-based club, not only because of the pace they set early in the season, but also given the relatively better working conditions for players and the technical department, let alone the assembling of experienced players, most of whom trace their roots to the eastern border city.
Tapera told Post Sport that he wants the average age of the club to come down to 25.
“The previous team had an average age of 33 years and we want to reduce that to 25 years. It is a noble and good thing for the older players to bring experience to the team, but you also need the intensity and energy you get from younger players. One needs to fuse both to get the best product,” said the former Black Rhinos team manager.
Post Sport understands that the list of players who will be transfer listed or offloaded and that of players remaining at the club is being finalised in some marathon meetings between the technical department and club leadership.
Tapera spoke of his passion to deliver for the sake of the fans that dearly support the team.
“Those who know me well know that I am a man who does everything for the fans. I know how passionate they are with their team and I am now one of them now by joining the team.
“We want to come up with a balanced and competitive team for next season. All this needs collective effort from all of us,” he said.
Tapera chose to keep his cards to his chest on the actual identity of players that will be shown the exit.
“Assessment of the team during the last five matches went on well. I saw very good, competitive and committed players. Like I said, we are still in the process of finalising the list of players we want to work with next season.
“Reasons for those leaving us vary. Some players’ contracts have expired and they want new challenges. We will let them go. We feel we should add to refresh the play of the team. When done with the lists, you will be the first to know,” he said.
It now remains to be seen whether some players who are on the wrong side of 30, who include Ticha Mabvura, Themba Ndlovu, Jorum Muchambo, Pasca Manhanga and Timire Mamvura among many others will remain part of the Gem Boys Class of 2023.