Moffat Mungazi’s FOOTY FOOTNOTES
THERE is something remarkably marked about how Dynamos and Highlanders appear to be tumbling if how the Castle Lager Premiership 2019 season has panned out so far for the misfiring former champions is anything to go by. Reeling from an incredibly under par campaign thus far, they are finding the going tough and pegged to the backwaters of the log standings. Not good enough to make the top half, they are languishing nearer the bottom than they are the apex.
But while the DeMbare circus – which we have already digested in this space – played out in the public domain, Bosso’s own quandary is just unraveling and is dominating the discourse for both sides’ “disgraceful” narrative.
It looks like all this while Dynamos – who, however, look set for revival under returning former son Tonderai “Stanza” Ndiraya – were sneezing, Highlanders were catching a cold!
Apparently, all is not well at the Bulawayo giants and there is a lot of housekeeping to take care of; yet so little appears to be getting done.
From a crippling off-season three-week industrial action by the players citing failure by the team to meet its end of the bargain to divisions rocking the club leadership provides just a peep into the burning Bosso house. The smoke continues billowing, meanwhile.
Having idled away precious pre-season preparations it meant Highlanders went into the championship marathon ill-prepared, with technical manager Madinda Ndlovu bemoaning the players’ fitness levels.
On the eve of the Premiership kick-off there were allegations of the Highlanders executive being involved in “petty” fights, with chief executive Nhlanhla Dube being accused of “capturing” club chairman Kenneth Mhlope.
So clotty is the bad blood among the club’s top brass that they have tried to suck technical manager Ndlovu into the vortex of their acrimony, with proposals for changes in the operational structure where some demanded that Ndlovu reports directly to the executive and not be supervised by the CEO who in turn is also answerable to the executive.
This would, however, mean changing some clauses in Madinda’s contract and it effectively meant reviewing it altogether; which was revised only last season.
With daggers already drawn out and emotions running high, the bickering has already claimed the scalps of vice-chairman Modern Ngwenya and secretary-general Israel Sibanda who have since been suspended.
Be that as it may, coach Ndlovu and board chairman Luke Mnkandla are putting up brave faces and still talking up their championship ambitions.
“We are not building anymore, and now is the time we start decorating the house. I would say step by step we will get there, but the goal is to get into a position where we can start competing for the championship. . . The season has just started and even if we’re to win the championship, we are going to lose some games.
There is no need for [pressing] panic buttons. We can still bounce back and win the championship. I was going to be worried if we were posting a series of bad results in the second round.
What is important is to be united and rally behind the team . . . we need to support and be patient with those in charge of the club,” Ndlovu and Mnkandla boldly declared in separate interviews. Some parties in their junior structures are also reportedly unsettled, with indications that their developmental side Bosso 90 – who play in the Southern Region Division One – coach Melusi “Mabaleka” Sibanda has been struck off their NetOne payroll while the club’s Under-14, 16 and 18 coaches Daniel Ngwenya, Sizababtu Khoza, Gift Lunga (jnr) and teams’ manager Smart Moyo are said to have gone for three consecutive months without receiving their dues.
The Damning Numbers
And positive results continue to elude the 2019 Independence Cup winners on the pitch. Highlanders are still fumbling for their first victory in the first six fixtures of this term, an ignominy they share with only the two teams below them – lightweights Mushowani Stars and Bulawayo Chiefs. Talk of being in dishonourable company!
The statistical facts and figures from this campaign paint a miserable picture: winless; 16th on the log; a paltry four points from a possible 18; four draws; two losses; two goals scored against five conceded and a negative goal difference of minus three is all they have got to show for their sweat.
Battered at their Babourfields home by Triangle, imagine if that effort by CAPS United had not been controversially ruled out but allowed to stand and Hwange had not missed that penalty on Sunday!
After firing blanks again, for the third game on the bounce, Highlanders have sunk into the drop zone and occupy the last relegation slot. More problems for the ex-champs.
Clearly, Bosso are not bossing their way in this championship race.
The Premiership time and tide, meanwhile, will not wait for Highlanders as they battle to put their house in order. To put it into perspective, three different players wore the captain’s armband for their first four league games (McClive Phiri vs Black Rhinos; Prince Dube vs CAPS United; Ariel Sibanda vs Harare City and Triangle).
Highlanders have since settled for goalkeeper Sibanda as the skipper and will be deputised by defender Tendai Ndlovu and midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku.
So fraught with indifferent results has their season been so far that their fans are taking the interceding and mitigatory Independence Cup conquest over bitter rivals Dynamos as scant consolation. Tellingly, Bosso have not been crowned kings of the domestic game for exactly a dozen years; their last title triumph coming many moons back in 2006. Unsurprisingly, the heat is now also being felt across the entire spectrum of the club; with disgruntled murmurs calling for gaffer Ndlovu’s head.
While the Highlanders team has been terribly wobbling on the pitch, their leadership has been heavily limping in the corridors of power.
Their weekdays have been lonely and their weekends cold.
If it is about football that you care let’s share the cheer because we are made for the game, mad about the game!
Dynamos need a good fitness trainer who can raise and improve the players’ low fitness levels. They are a big team and their results must show that. – Tawanda Mhlanga, Dangamvura.