Chidzambwa recharges ZPC

HARARE - When Sunday Chidzambwa joined ZPC Kariba last season following a 16-year absence from the domestic top flight league, he endured a difficult time.

Chidzambwa had exited the local Premiership on September 5, 1999 following Dynamos’ 2-0 defeat to Tunisia’s Esperance in an African Champions League match at the National Sports Stadium.

He went on to coach the Zimbabwe national team and was later banned for life for his involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal but later bounced back when the ban was lifted.

Chidzambwa, one of the most respected local coaches, also had a stint with the South Africa Premiership league before ending his coaching stay in the South African National First Division in 2013.

Upon his return last season, Chidzambwa inherited a ZPC Kariba side that was low on confidence, struggling for results and expectations were high for him to turn around the fortunes of a team that had lost the title to Dynamos right on the final day in the previous season.

But things did not go as expected. Instead, the former Dynamos and Warriors coach found the going tough to the extent that ZPC dropped into the relegation zone at some point.

Chidzambwa had to wait until the eighth match after joining the power-utility company side to pick his first set of maximum points.

In the first 10 matches that he presided over ZPC, Chidzambwa managed a paltry nine points from a possible 30 points.

Despite the poor results, Chidzambwa kept on emphasising on patience but many, however, did not listen while a few gave him the benefit of doubt.

Chidzambwa’s detractors pointed that the coach was no longer in touch with local football having been in the wilderness for a decade-and-a-half.

The ZPC Kariba executive however, backed their man and together they survived relegation.

Chidzambwa, on the other hand, stuck to his guns trying various combinations while emphasising the need to recruit more quality players.

ZPC Kariba went on to recruit some new players during the off-season, bringing in such names like Talent Chawapihwa and Wisdom Mutasa among others into their ranks.

Now the power-utility company side has gotten off to a brilliant start in this current campaign.

Their progress in the Premiership thus far has been in contrast to their form last season.

In the opening 10 matches they have played so far, ZPC Kariba have managed 21 points having won six, drawn three and lost once.

This has seen the Kariba-based side sitting in second place on the table with the same number of points as log leaders CAPS United but trailing only on an inferior goal difference.

Following the good start, Chidzambwa feels they are now reaping the rewards of patience and hard work.

“I’m happy with how we have started the season. I’m also amazed at how the new players have settled in. It is as if they have been around all that time,” Chidzambwa told the Daily News yesterday.

“Last year, we fought relegation and we have done our homework. I think our team is much stronger than last season. We acquired some good players and the results are slowly coming up.

“We have a mixture of the experienced and young players who are eager to prove their worth.”

But Chidzambwa knows that there is still a long way to go and his players must remain focused.

“We are all happy we are winning, but we must go step by step. We should not be carried away,” Chidzambwa said.

“The fans can savour the wins, but for the players, it is important to remain focused. Immediately when we are done with one match, we shift attention to the next. All I continue to tell my players is not to get carried away.”

Chidzambwa feels the level of competition in the Castle Premiership has risen and they need to be at their best if they are to fight for titles.

“With such performances you cannot ignore the prospect of winning something but it also important to be pragmatic. There are no longer small teams in the league and we need to work hard week in, week out,” Chidzambwa added.

ZPC Kariba face Highlanders in their next assignment and Chidzambwa is looking forward to another difficult match.

The Bulawayo giants are also enjoying a good start to the season under their new Dutch coach Erol Akbay.

Bosso are in third place on the log only a single point behind ZPC Kariba and CAPS United.

Fixtures

Friday

Chapungu v How Mine (Ascot, SS),

Saturday:

Ngezi Platinum v Border Strikers (Baobab), Harare City v Dynamos (Rufaro), Tsholotsho v Chicken Inn (White City), FC Platinum v Triangle United (Mandava, SS),

Sunday:

CAPS United v Bulawayo City (NSS), Highlanders v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields, SS), Hwange v Mutare City (Colliery)

Wednesday (June 29)

Hwange v Chicken Inn (Colliery)

Comments (2)

Mhofu qua qwumberi, pakaipa!

shaolin kung-fu master - 23 June 2016

Munya we'News' wakadai mauwana kupi! Any serious sports reporter should by now know that Bosso have taken over the top spot imi muchikuwawata zveposition 3! Tipeiwo maserious amana!

True Makepekepe - 24 June 2016

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