By Robson Sharuko
Sunday Chidzambwa will not be sacked by ZPC Kariba before the expiry of his contract, despite the controversy triggered by comments he made in an audio clip that was clandestinely recorded by a third party, with his employers even suggesting a possible extension of the gaffer’s stay at the club.
The country’s most successful football coach was recorded, without his knowledge, questioning the professionalism of the leadership at ZPC Kariba, reserving the worst criticism for club chairman Tungamirai Mazarire, and alleging his boss had been treating him badly.
Chidzambwa claimed he was dressed down by Mazarire, in a closed-door meeting held shortly after the coach’s return from his successful adventure at the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup tournament, where he led the Warriors to an historic fifth title in South Africa. The gaffer is heard in the audio clip saying Mazarire mocked his achievements as a coach, in which he is the most successful gaffer in domestic football, with the ZPC Kariba chairman boasting about his qualifications as an electrical engineer.
Sources have suggested that the trio of Mazarire, club secretary Robert Mamvura and treasurer Kwinyai Dzura, has been angling for the removal of Chidzambwa as ZPC Kariba head coach, which forced the gaffer to announce he would be walking away from the team when his contract expires at the end of the season. The same sources indicated the same ZPC Kariba leadership, irked by Chidzambwa’s remarks in the leaked audio clip, tried yesterday to force for the termination of the coach’s contract with a caretaker gaffer being appointed to handle the team until the end of the year.
However, the club’s leadership have to get the blessings of the power utility leaders in Harare for their decision to be valid. Other sources claimed the executive led by Mazarire was set to be dissolved in the aftermath of the controversy that has stalked the club this week, with the franchise being moved away from Kariba and relocated to Harare.
Amid a storm of negativity yesterday, the owners of the club, ZESA Holdings (Pvt) Ltd issued a statement yesterday in which they made it clear they were neither going to sack Chidzambwa before the expiry of his contract at the end of the season, nor dissolve the club’s current leadership.
Interestingly, they said there was a possibility they could extend Chidzambwa’s contract when it expires at the end of the season should both parties feel that is what was in the best interests of the club. ZESA Holdings said Chidzambwa had not officially advised them of his intentions, or decision not to renew his contract at the end of the season.
“ZESA Holdings has noted with concern misrepresentation of the state of affairs at ZPC Kariba FC and would like to set the record straight,’’ the power utility’s spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said in a statement released to The Herald yesterday in which he made it clear that:
l ZPC Kariba FC has so far registered steady performance in the 2017 Premier Soccer League season with only a handful of matches left before the curtains of the season come down.
l As such, it is not in the immediate plans of the power utility to restructure or dismiss the Sunday Chidzambwa-led technical team.
l Head coach of ZPC Kariba, Sunday Chidzambwa, has a running contract with the club until the end of the season and his employers will constructively engage him to determine the renewal, or non-renewal, of the same as we approach the 2018 soccer season.
l It is also premature for us to unveil our plans for the 2018 Premier Soccer League season as we are still to finalise fulfilling our mandate in the current season. Similarly, at this point in time, there are no immediate plans to dismiss or restructure the executive of the team as that would also adversely affect the good performance of the club and we urge them to serve the best interests of the club until the season comes to an end.
• ZPC Kariba FC does not conduct its business on social media and never at any point did Chidzambwa officially approach the club with the intention to terminate his contract hence we are not at liberty to comment on the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the alleged pronouncements that went viral.
l ZPC Kariba FC is geared to serve the best interests of all stakeholders, the community included, and shall strive to ensure that it puts the resort town of Kariba on the football map.’’
Chidzambwa’s leaked conversation lifted the lid on the in-house problems at ZPC Kariba which, only a few years ago, came close to being crowned champions of domestic football. The veteran gaffer last week revealed he will quit the club at the end of the season as he has failed to meet his targets.
But a clandestinely recorded conversation, which was aired on Star FM’s Daily Sports Zone programme on Tuesday, painted a graphic picture of frosty relations between Chidzambwa and club chairman Mazarire.
“Ndabva kuCOSAFA, Mazarire akaburitsa vanhu vese mumeeting akati Mhofu ngavasare,’’ Chidzambwa is heard saying in the audio clip.
‘’Akandishaudha, hanzi I am an electrical engineer, I don’t get money from football.’’
A number of readers fought in Chidzambwa’s corner as they defended the veteran gaffer and, instead, castigated the ZPC Kariba leadership. Speculation has linked Chidzambwa to the Warriors job after ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa announced recently the Association will appoint a substantive gaffer for the senior national football team before the end of the year. The Herald