'MaBlanyo a good person, great coach too'

HARARE - After many years of toiling in the lower leagues and dedicating most of his time to junior football, Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe was thrust into the spotlight when Dynamos appointed him caretaker coach earlier this year.

The Glamour Boys had endured a disappointing start to the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership campaign and the club’s hierarchy had reacted by sacking Lloyd Mutasa and Biggie Zuze in quick succession.

This left Chigowe in charge of the team for two games in June against Triangle United and Mutare City Rovers.

Although he won one and lost the other one, there was hue and cry over why DeMbare had invested their trust in an unknown quantity in local football.

Fault-finders even questioned his sense of fashion with rival fans mocking Chigowe for his love of spotting washed out tracksuits.

When Mutasa made his unlikely comeback to the Glamour Boys dug out, Chigowe was then relegated back to his post with the club’s juniors but it was not the last people would hear of him.

DeMbare’s fortunes did not change under Mutasa and the club finally let go of the coach for the second time in September and again chose to appoint Chigowe on an interim basis.

This is when the 54-year-old former Young Warriors coach finally came out of his shell.

His pre-match and post-match press conferences turned into must-attend events for most journalists as he brought a breath of fresh air with his witty and insightful comments.

Overnight he became the Steve Khompela of local football.

On the pitch, results were not bad either as he successfully guided DeMbare away from relegation with the fading Harare giants finishing in 11th place out of the 16 teams in the Premier Soccer League.

The DeMbare hierarchy then gave Chigowe the job on a full-time basis after his heroics in saving the team from relegation.

But despite all these achievements in a short space of time, a number of fans are still not convinced.

The Daily News on Sunday sought the opinions of some of local football’s greats players to get their views on Chigowe.

Enjoy what they have to say!

Tinashe Nengomasha — Former Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder

“He is a good person and a great coach too. I think he is one person who represents the true values of junior football. He is surely an example and a reference point for junior football in the country. He taught me how football should be played from a very tender age. I have always rated junior coaches more and to me MaBlanyo is on top of my list. He dedicated most of his time working with the juniors. Young players need a lot of time, care, patience and love and MaBlanyo has all that. He is one person with a good heart and love and, for me, he played a fatherly figure in my career. He would visit me at home to see if everything was okay, he would give us bus fare to go to training, what he did to my career is huge and I’m really grateful. When I look at him, he is like a father. He didn’t do it for me only but several other players who went on to make it on the highest level. For me it was probably a matter of time before he could occupy a bigger position. I don’t think there are a lot of coaches in the Premiership who produced a huge number of players like him. I wish him all the best in his new role.”

Tendai Tanyanyiwa — Former Dynamos and Young Warriors goalkeeper: 

“For me, he played a big role to a lot of players. He believed in unknown upcoming players. He is the reason why I started at Black Aces. He gave me his own money to go to trials at Harare Province Select; at that time junior football structures were a lot organised. Clayton Munemo was the coach and he rejected me. MaBlanyo was not deterred and he gave me money to go for the Young Warriors (Under-17) trials at Torwood Stadium in Kwekwe and I made it to the last 30 until I became first choice. So for me he has touched a lot of football lives. I’m not surprised that today he is at a bigger club like Dynamos. I would urge people to give him a chance and judge him from results and performances than on his looks and dressing.”

Norman Mapeza — Former Warriors captain and the reigning Coach of The Year: 

“I have a lot of respect for that man. I think he is one of the best junior coaches we have produced in this country.”

Tawanda Muparati — Former Dynamos midfielder and 2011 Soccer Star: 

“I worked with him at Douglas Warriors. I should say I was fortunate to have worked with him. I learned something new every day. He is a great coach and had a huge impact in my career’s development. With him at Douglas Warriors winning was our culture. He is a good coach who knows his stuff really well.”

Thomas Sweswe — Former Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs defender:

“I owe my footballing career mostly to MaBlanyo. I have great respect for MaBlanyo. He has a huge place in my heart because he is the one who shaped my football career. He identified me whilst I was a young boy in Mbare and took me to Black Aces. Probably, had it not been for him I would not have reached this far. He is one person who is good with the juniors. He has patience for youngsters. His passion for the game is enormous. He would sacrifice his money sometimes to give us bus fare. To me he is one of the best coaches we have in the country.”

Norman Maroto — Former Dynamos and Gunners striker:

“I played under him during my time with the Best of Africa Under-17 and there are a lot of things I learnt from him. He encouraged me to work hard.”

Murape Murape — Former Dynamos striker and 2007 Soccer Star: 

“When I look at MaBlanyo, he is someone whose name should be mentioned when the history of football in the country is being written. I worked with him during my time with the Dynamos juniors. He then took me into the Best of Africa Under-17 as well as the Zimbabwe Under-17 squad. It was actually at that time that I feel my career took shape because I eventually graduated into the Dynamos first team. He is a great coach and I feel very much privileged to have worked with him. He helped in shaping my career with a lot more other players like Hope Chihota, Chamu Musanhu, Ernest Masango and many more. He has been in the development of football for quite some time.”

Taurai Mangwiro — Triangle coach: 

“He is a good colleague and has been around for quite some time. He spends most of his time with the juniors and at one time he was the national team coach for the Young Warriors. I took him through his Caf A Licence coaching course when I was still the Zifa technical director and he did fairly well.”

 

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