By Nigel Matongorere
Two of the country’s greatest ever footballers – Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa and Standford “Stix” Mutizwa – are feeling the heat in the dugout as their teams are struggling.
Chidzambwa was almost reduced to tears on Sunday at the National Sports Stadium after watching his ZPC Kariba side lose 1-0 to defending champions CAPS United in a Castle Lager Premiership match.
What made Chidzambwa so incensed was the fact his side had gone down to a Makepekepe team that had failed to win any of their last five matches.
Sunday’s defeat was also ZPC Kariba’s third game without a win and in a brutal assessment of his players’ performance, Chidzambwa threatened to hrow in the towel.
“If players are not prepared to fight for me, then I would rather go home rather than getting pressure everyday because of players who don’t want to fight for the coach,” Chidzambwa said.
“Our problem is that we are not fighting to win matches. I’m going to talk to the players and if they don’t want to fight, I will resign.”
The legendary former Dynamos defender and coach suspects the players are sabotaging his efforts hence his threat to walk away.
“My players are not prepared to fight to win the game so if they are not going to fight for me, I will go away so that a new coach who they are willing to fight for will come in,” he said.
“I think everybody in Kariba has played football this season. I think I had a completely new team out there today. We had a few youngsters but we did not fight.
“You must put in maximum effort to win games and our players did not do that. I get the blame when we lose matches; I get fired.
“Maybe the players want another coach they want to fight for. Look at CAPS; they have probably four (quality) players but everyone was fighting to win the game.
“They were chasing for everything whether it be the defenders or the forwards but our players were too nice.”
After a decent start to the season which saw ZPC Kariba in the mix with the leading pack, Sunday’s defeat left Chidzambwa’s side in eighth place on the log with 29 points.
Kauya Katuruturu now trail log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by 11 points as the title race begins to shape up.
On Saturday, Mutizwa was left with more questions than answers after his previously solid defence conceded straight from an Ocean Mushure corner kick in the 1-0 defeat to Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium.
It was the army side’s third defeat on the trot and it saw them drop down to seventh place on the log.
“Coming from two defeats last week, I thought we had put everything in order after working with the defence,” he said.
“Our defence had been the pillar of the team since the first round since we conceded the least number of goals but in the last two games we conceded seven and with this game it’s now eight.
“As the technical team, we are very worried and today we can blame the goalkeeper since the goal came straight from a corner kick.”
The former CAPS United and Warriors mercurial midfielder is convinced though that his side will be able to stop their slide down the table.
“Judging from today’s performance; we had a high level and it is the same momentum we had in the first half of the league,” Mutizwa said.
“We are going to push hard to retain the same momentum in our remaining games. It’s going to be hard to motivating the players but the way they played today will make it easy for us to psyche them up for the next game.”
While it was all despair for Chidzambwa and Mutizwa, it was not the same case with Tonderai Ndiraya and his Ngezi Platinum Stars side after they beat How Mine 2-1 away in Bulawayo at Luveve Stadium.
It was the platinum miners’ third win on the trot and it took them back to the top of the table with 40 points from 20 matches.
In those three matches, Ndiraya’s side has plundered in 10 goals while conceding four in the process.
If they continue with the same form, it will be hard for the rest of the chasing pack to stop Madamburo from marching to their maiden title.
Previous log leaders Chicken Inn emerged with a valuable point in the 1-1 away draw to FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium.
The Gamecocks are now just one point behind Ngezi while FC Platinum dropped to fourth with 36 points.
Dynamos have refused to fade away in this title race and moved into third place with 36 points following the victory over Rhinos.
Lloyd Mutasa’s men also have two games in hand and if they can get maximum points from both matches, then they will go top of the log. Daily News