PSL season preview No7: Will Rodwell's return rejuvenate Hwange?

BULAWAYO - Coalminers Hwange clearly missed the services of their inspirational skipper Rodwell Chinyengetere last season.

The Warriors linkman missed the whole of last season after suffering a horrific injury in 2012 when he came off second best in a clash with the then Monomotapa keeper Artwell Mukandi in a Castle Premiership match at Rufaro Stadium.

ON THE RECOVERY PATH: Hwange forward Rodwell Chinyengetere is exected to make a full comeback this season after a horrific injury in 2012.

And in Chinyengetere’s absence, Hwange lacked a genuine match winner and thus spent the better part of the year fighting relegation.

King Amla, as Chinyengetere is fondly referred to by the Hwange faithful, is back in action after fully recovering from the career threatening injury and his return is expected to improve Chipangano’s performances this year.

Chinyengetere, who packs one hell of a powerful shot, had by the time he got injured emerged as one of the most influential players not only for Hwange but the Warriors as well.

Hwange managed to retain the core of the team that did duty for them last season including Chan 2014 star defender Eric Chipeta.

The versatile Chipeta could however be lost to the coalminers at the halfway stage of the season as indications are that a move to South Africa is imminent.

Hwange may have spent the better part of last season flirting with relegation but their performance on the field belied their lowly position on the log as they were playing some very good football.

LEADERS: Hwange coaches Nation Dube, left, and Chenjerai Dube, right, will be hoping for a good 2014 season for the coalminers.

The problem was with their blunt strike force and the coal miners have this season brought on board former Tripple B striker Alick Marime in a bid to rectify that situation.

Marime reached double figures last season and is expected to add more fire power to the Chipangano attack that also has the likes of Evans Rusike, veteran Gilbert Zulu and Young Warriors striker Pritchard Mpelele.

One problem that has affected coaches at Hwange is the need to successfully integrate Hwange born and bred players (Mabhoni) and players that come from outside the coal mining town.

Chipangano have a feeder club that campaigns in the Southern Region First Division and comprises mainly of juniors.

This team has over the years earned the respect of many neutrals by holding its own against more experienced campaigners in the division which has led to many of the team’s fans to clamour for local boys to be given first preference when signing players.

Unconfirmed reports emanating from social networking pages dedicated to Hwange Football Club suggest that Marime has left the coal mining town over an undisclosed issue while former Motor Action player Isaac Masame has of late not been training with the team in protest over outstanding signing on fees from last season.

And if there is an element of truth in the above stories involving Masame and Marime then those voices advocating for “Mabhoni” to be given first preference over outsiders may grow louder since they would reckon that a local boy would understand the problems affecting the colliery company that sponsors the football team.

Chipangano’s head coach from last season, Nation Dube, took his players on a tour of the underground mines to try and buttress the message that they should commit to their craft just like the miners who worked hard for the money the players earned and yet the workers themselves went for lengthy periods without getting paid.

The coal miners had a quite pre-season and Dube attributed this to the fact that fellow top-flight teams were reluctant to engage them in friendly matches and it remains to be seen whether this will work in their favour or not since they will be an unknown package for their opponents in the early stages of the season.

One player to watch at Hwange this season is Tafara “Machisa” Chese.

Last season, Chese was used mainly as a second half substitute and his introduction tilted the game in Hwange’s favour on many occasions.

His coach, Dube, last year said it was deliberate on his part to introduce Chese as an impact player and hopefully this season the player will get more game time and realise his full potential.

Another player who may be crucial to Hwange’s success if he manages to return to form following an injury plagued 2013 season is former soccer star of the year finalist Nkosana Siwela.

The dreadlocked Siwela formed a deadly combination with Chinyengetere and Winston Mhango in the Hwange midfield a couple of years ago and is expected to combine yet again with “King Amla” in the quest to turn Chipangano into a competitive outfit once again.

Daily News predicted position: 8th

Last season’s position: 10th

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