FC Platinum in turmoil

ZVISHAVANE - The resignation of FC Platinum coach Tenant Chilumba on Wednesday has brought to the surface underlying tensions and squabbling that have rocked the club in the last two months.

Platinum were thrown into deeper turmoil this week after Chilumba prematurely quit the club mid-season and returned to his native Zambia to take over as coach of Copperbelt side Power Dynamos.

Chilumba’s shock resignation comes after the club has failed to win in their last five Castle Premiership matches following a bright start to the season in which they briefly topped the league and were tipped back then as early favourites for the title.  

Speculation had being doing the rounds for a month in the small mining town of Zvishavane that an internal strife had triggered the poor run of form, and Chilumba’s departure this week indeed confirmed all is not well at the club.

Sources close to the situation told the Daily News on Thursday that a power struggle at the club frustrated Chilumba and prompted his resignation.

“There was mistrust between the new executive and people within the club perceived to be loyal to the old executive. There is vindictiveness on the part of the new leadership,” the source said.

The source added that Chilumba was constantly being frustrated by interference in team selection, rendering him powerless in the execution of his duties.

“Certain players were not being used and it seems the coach was under clear instruction not to field them. Donald Ngoma, Allen Gahadzikwa and Josta (Joel Ngodzo) had been side lined. Dombo was failing to make the match-day squad, even after the club blocked his move to Dynamos. He is said to be loyal to the old set-up.”

Ngoma and Gahadzikwa have now reportedly made a transfer request with the hope of joining Dynamos in the mid-season transfer window while Ngodzo has asked to re-join Highlanders.

Responding to queries by this paper yesterday, Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo denied that Chilumba faced any form of interference from anyone in the club.

“FC Platinum operates on a strong value system that gives complete autonomy to the technical bench. Our structures are performance-based and have very clear targets. This is important to ensure that there is complete accountability,” she said.

Chizondo further dismissed claims that the club had side lined from decision making a named member of the technical bench due to their allegiance to the old set-up.

“We will re-emphasis that our key values are the ones that drive the club and know that collectively we will achieve our goals.”

The tension at Platinum, a source said, has worsened to an extent that certain players were being accused of throwing games on behalf of “some disgruntled elements”, even when the players were not making the team.

Latest controversial incidents surrounding the club are also said to have irked bosses at Mimosas (Pvt) Ltd, bankrollers of the club, who have lambasted the football club of “courting negative publicity on the company and cost the club its sponsorship from FBC Bank.”

0ne such incident was the assault of Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi by Platinum marshals, who soaked him in urine before the two teams’ last league match at Mandava Stadium two weeks ago. The heated match was drawn one-all.  

After the match, a livid Mawiwi accused Platinum of employing dirty tricks.

Commenting on the Mawiwi incident, Chizondo said the club was willing to investigate the incident and punish the culprits.

“As FC Platinum we welcome Harare City furnishing us with any information relating to the alleged incident and on the basis of that information we will take appropriate action,” she said.  “Our values are professionalism, competitiveness and discipline and therefore we do not condone any acts of hooliganism.”

She said of the FBC deal: “FBC was for the 2012 season. We are engaging several companies for the 2013 season.”

The spokesperson added that contrary to talk tension and mistrust between the team and the Zvishavane community, the relationship was growing.

The club’s spokesperson added that Platinum had not given up on its goal of winning their first league title in their third season in the Premiership.  

“For a start too much has been given to the "crisis" let us not forget that as the season commenced there was sentiment that it was early days. The truth is our past encounters have been very competitive teams in the premier league. Our primary focus is to continue building character of our team and for us the championship will be the icing on the cake.” - Sports Writer 

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