Chaminuka deserves the credit

HARARE - If Saul Chaminuka leads ZPC Kariba to winning the Castle Premiership title this afternoon, the well-travelled coach deserves all the credit that will come to him.

At the start of the season, ZPC Kariba were many pundits candidate for relegation after they had a pre-season from hell.

Firstly, their participation in the top-flight was in doubt after the energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire threatened to pull the plug on the team’s sponsorship.

The club is owned by government parastatal Zimbabwe Power Company which falls under the energy ministry’s portfolio.

ZPC finally paid the league’s registration fee at the 11th hour after negotiations between Mavhaire and the club’s bosses.  

The Premier Soccer League also barred the club from using their Nyamhunga Stadium as their home ground which was deemed unfit to host top-flight matches.

All season-long, ZPC have been playing home away from home at their adopted Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield.

Despite all these setbacks, Chaminuka moulded a well-disciplined side and they stated the season like a house on fire.

The fixture list was also not kind to the league novices as they played against CAPS United and Dynamos in their first two matches.

Chaminuka’s side emerged unscathed with a 1-1 draw against Makepekepe and a 1-0 win over DeMbare.

That fine start set the tone for a 19-game unbeaten run that eventually stopped by a 3-0 defeat to Chapungu in the second half of the season at Ascot stadium.

Chaminuka’s mantra from day one was that their aim was to avoid relegation in their first year in the top flight division.

“I do not know how to tell you how happy I am, because what this means is that we are one game away from winning the championship in our first season in the Premiership,” Chaminuka said after the win over Dynamos two weeks ago.

“I know we have beaten Dynamos today but we can lose the title. If we are going to talk about the championship we still need to win against CAPS United. Dynamos could have lost here but can still go on to win the league.”          

Assuming that ZPC go on to win the championship, there will be some critics who will say that the league debutants won it by default because the traditional powerhouses Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United all self-destructed at crucial moments during the campaign.

But winning a league race is like a marathon and it all depends on what you have done during the course of race not the last three or two games.

Chaminuka became the first coach to hand Dynamos back-to-back defeats since Calisto Pasuwa took over in 2011.

Taking six points away from your direct rival is a clear sign that ZPC will be deserving champions if they go on to get the desired result against CAPS United this afternoon.

Chaminuka also revived the careers of such players likes Limited Chikafa, Tawanda Nyamandwe, Pride Tafirenyika and Artwell Nyamiwa, who all had been regarded as washed-up stars.

In this edition of the Daily News on Sunday we carry an interview with Tafirenyika in which he talks about how Chaminuka rekindled his career.

With the way Chaminuka turned ZPC Kairba’s fortunes around from the gloom at the start of the season no one will begrudge him if he also wins the Castle Lager Coach of the Year award at the end of the season.

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