PSL preview no9: Chiredzi FC in with a limp

MUTARE - Moses “Bambo” Chunga is a greying wily football wizard.

But last season he may have worked his magic into a quandary by winning promotion for a side whose owners did not want the honour – or at least later realised they could not afford playing in the Castle Premiership.

Chunga led Hippo Valley FC to win promotion into the top flight league from the Zifa Eastern Region Division One by obliterating all the opposition that came their way.

Sugar-manufacturing concern Tongaat Hullet, owners of Hippo Valley FC, disbanded the team soon after winning promotion into the top-flight, a development that torched a storm in the Lowveld.

Chunga and the Chiredzi community ganged-up on one side to battle against the decision by Tongaat Hullet.

In the end, the company then signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) with the Chiredzi community in which they donated the franchise and all the football kits that were used by Hippo Valley Football Club last season which cumulated into the birth of Chiredzi FC.

Under the MOU, Chiredzi FC, now a community team, was also allowed to use Chishamiso Stadium, the former team’s home ground, while the company undertook to continue maintaining the venue.

But having won the battle Chunga may as well have lost the war.

Now operating as Chiredzi FC with only community support, Bambo may be deep in dreamland to even think of surviving relegation.

His team, in him, have one of the finest football brains in the land and for now look hungry for success.

Running a football club is however, no mean feat and all the sacrifices Chunga and the Chiredzi community made might come to naught if they fail to secure proper funding for the team.

According to Monomotapa officials, a cost of running a successful single season in the Castle Premier Soccer League requires at least $500 000.

The former Zimbabwe champions suffered severe cash flow problems last season which subsequently caused their relegation to the first division.

Although Chunga might find it hard to raise the required funds to run the club, the former Dynamos midfielder has succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of the Chiredzi community.

Chunga has recruited Tinashe Zishiri, a teacher at Hippo Valley Secondary, to be one of his assistants coaches at the club.

This move will help the club to be identified with the community as one of their sons will be sitting in the dugout when the 2014 Premiership season kicks-off this weekend.

Having been proved to be a smooth politician, Chunga will now have to prove that he is also prudent businessmen as the huge finances he needs to run the club will be hard to come by.

Chunga will also need to juggle with securing funding, the administration and coaching of the club at the same time just like what South African football legend Jomo Sono has done with his club Jomo Cosmos.

One thing that helps Sono keep Cosmos afloat is the funding in the South African game as clubs receive grants from both the South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League.

Even with such support structures in the game in the country, Jomo Cosmos has remained a yoyo club, shuffling between the Absa Premiership and the National First Division in recent years.  

Chunga is a product of Dynamos, one of the most volatile club’s in African football, which continues to remain successful despite boardroom squabbles and insolvency being the order of the day at the Harare giants.

The former Gunners coach needs to summon all his experiences at Dynamos if his Chiredzi FC project is going to be a success.

The club is in danger of suffering a still birth and might go the Tripple B, Motor Action, Monomotapa and Hardbody route due to unhealthy financial situation local clubs operate in.

The Hippo Valley FC side which finished 12 points clear at the top of the Zifa Eastern Region log was like a bull in a china shop in the lower division, with enough firepower to compete in the Premiership.

They scored 69 times and only conceded 10 while they only tasted defeat three times which when they had virtually sewn up promotion into the top flight.

Although Chunga was able to retain most the players he had at Hippo Valley, the new Chiredzi FC side is no longer the same trailblazing side as the one in Division One.

Chunga has in the offseason been alleging that there is a third force particularly members of the Hippo Valley’s disbanded executive that are throwing spanners in his works.

The coach alleges that these sinister forces have caused a number of key players to dessert Chiredzi FC.

With or without the politics, Chunga will have to do without his side’s prolific scorer Hillary Bakacheza, who with 16 goals last season was the Eastern Region’s top goal scorer.

For goals this season, Chiredzi FC will have to rely on striker Last Kantambani, who netted 12 goals last season.

Kantambani joined Hippo Valley at the halfway stage of the 2013 season from Ruwa United and immediately became an instant hit in the Lowerveld.      

Sam Msimbu, who had six goals, Codias Siwempi and Able Machaka, who both had four goals, are still at the club.

Chiredzi FC have been able to retain the experienced journeyman, Rowen Nenzou, who was instrumental in the Division One last season.

The former Black Rhinos and Shabanie Mine midfielder combined well with Tapiwa “Tsuro” Dephistara last season and they are likely to cause a lot of problems for most teams in the Premiership.

Chunga has also been reunited with striker Norman Maroto in the Lowerveld. Chunga catapulted Maroto into prominence when he included him into the Dynamos squad when he was still a schoolboy at Churchill in 2001.

After all has been said and done, Chiredzi FC is a virtually new team that could implode or ignite the Premiership.

Daily News predicted position: 13th

Comments (2)

Chunga is a good coach and should try to stay at at least five or more years so that he may groom formidable teams.By doing so he can market himself within and outside the country.Chunga is very worthy to be our next national team coach after Ian Gorowa.

MADZUDZO - 1 April 2014

This is one area PSL and ZIFA have to look into when they seek sponsorship. It is better to have travel expenses covered by the sponsorship and then the balance used for prizes. e.g each team gets a bus from PSL or ZIFA and diesel for away matches. 16 teams meaning 16 minibuses that cannot be too much for an association interested in running soccer.

Maita Manyuka - 2 April 2014

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