When gems sparkle no more

16 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
When gems sparkle no more Manica Diamonds coach Johanisi "Dutch Mentor" Nhumwa

The ManicaPost

 

Ray Bande
Senior Reporter

 

IN the early stages of the 2021-2022 Castle Lager Premiership season, Manica Diamonds gave many followers of the game, especially their supporters in Manicaland Province, a reason to believe that they could stand the heat in the race for the coveted title.

Perched on the summit of the 16-team table for weeks, the Gem Boys, as Manica Diamonds are fondly referred to by their growing fan base in Manicaland, made all and sundry believe that the domestic football history books were to be rewritten, come the end of the season.

 

If not the eventual winners of the tightly contested race, the Mutare-based team was reasonably expected to have a huge say in the championship race.

Alas, they flattered to deceive!

Tuesday, marked 27 rounds of league matches played in this season’s Castle Lager Premiership League and Manica Diamonds are a distant seventh position on the table.

Tuesday also saw Johanisi Nhumwa and his men succumbing to a one-nil defeat at the hands of visiting Chicken Inn at home at Vengere Stadium in Rusape, a result that placed into perspective the Gem Boys’ inability to challenge for honours.

As the dream for a historic title charge fades away with each passing week, Manica Diamonds have only amassed 29 points, almost an average of a point from each match played, leaving them a massive 19 points adrift of impressive log leaders and league defending champions, FC Platinum.

Thus Nhumwa believes a blight of injuries affected their fine run.

“I think we had too many injuries along the way. We started the season well, but somehow when our players started picking up injuries, we lost the rhythm.

“However, I think we will soon bounce back to our winning ways, given that most of the injured players have recovered or are recuperating.

“We have Liberty Chakoroma who is expected in a fortnight as well as Eriya Mafirenyika who is already back in training. Pasca Manhanga is also expected to be back in two weeks. Lawrence Masibera is the only one I cannot really say when he will be back. These injuries affected us a lot. We became so vulnerable and we were no longer creative in the middle of the park,” said Nhumwa.

He lamented on his team’s lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

“The other thing that greatly contributed to our loss of form was the inability to score. In some of the matches we really played well, and created scoring chances, but failed to convert.

“For example, against Chicken Inn on Tuesday, we played very well and created so many scoring opportunities, but somehow we could not score. We could have beaten them by a wide margin, but we failed to convert our chances,” said Nhumwa.

The underrated former Masvingo United coach still believes that he can attain a top four finish.

“In terms of what we wanted to achieve from the onset of the season, I think we can still attain a top four finish. This is a young team with only two years in the Premiership, so we really cannot put ourselves under pressure. We just need to start collecting maximum points from the remaining matches and ensure that we claw our way up the ladder,” said Nhumwa.

Manica Diamonds will get down to the Chibuku Super Cup quarter finals action against Herentals FC at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Sunday, knowing full well that they have lost their fans’ confidence, given their freefall on the league log standings.

While progression in the Chibuku Super Cup could be enough consolation for the success starved fans, they (fans) might find it difficult to pin their hopes on the inconsistent outfit.

 

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