By Bothwell Mahlengwe
I was not shocked when I heard of Sunday Chidzambwa’s pending resignation from ZPC Kariba after his team’s defeat at the hands of Ngezi Platinum at Nyamhunga in the resort town a few weeks ago.
The reasons he gave in the interview made lots of sense for someone of Chidzambwa’s pedigree – ZPC, who missed the championship by a whisker in the 2014 season, have not progressed under the country’s most successful football coach.
And Chidzambwa carries that responsibility because he was hired to change things around and, for me, his announcement was full of honour and I just prayed that others should see that as an example.
Then, I listened to a leaked audio clip featuring Chidzambwa and Brenna Msiska and I have to say I was disturbed, hurt and disappointed at the same time.
Disturbed, because the one who recorded it clandestinely had a sinister motive and Mhofu fell for it; hurt, because Mhofu is the doyen of Zimbabwe football coaching and disappointed because the gaffer let himself, other coaches, former players and football in general down. There is no one with a better coaching CV in Zimbabwe than Mhofu, and no one even comes closer.
He is the Sir Alex Ferguson of Zimbabwean football and if this was the army, he would be the most decorated commander. How sad to hear that our most decorated coach is ridiculed like a kid by a football nonentity?
No one can argue that Mhofu is in the twilight stage of his coaching career and I always felt that this started happening about 15 years ago and he should have left the trenches and turned into administration. I thought he had seen the light when he became the director of coaching at Dynamos.
The same happened at ZIFA, his membership in the High Performance Committee doesn’t make sense to me at all either. Kaizen is a Japanese term referring to life-long learning and you only stop learning about your trade and life the day you breathe your last breath.
Every trade has refresher courses and seminars even for the best qualified and football requires the same. Trends are changing fast in world football and the game has become both artistic and scientific. One can only imagine what Mhofu would have become if he had diverted to football administration some time back, first at Dynamos, and then nationally.
By that, I mean he would be having a bigger influence in the game today than just taking control of a mere football pitch. Who among all former Dynamos players and coaches has the influence and respect that Mhofu commands?
Imagine what would have become of Dynamos if he had decided to transform the club with all the exposure and experience he has accumulated over the years he has been in the field, as a player and coach?
It’s sad that now a mere engineer struggling to figure out his stronger foot wants to tell Zimbabwe’s football guru about who and when to field in his team. That’s the effect of internet and media. It has created many armchair coaches and football experts but can you blame them if the guru’s terminology isn’t at par with current trends? What a loss for the nation to have missed on the wealth of experience, exposure, connections, contacts and relationships he amassed along his footballing journey.
It’s sad he didn’t choose to put it to use in the football administration world. Who wouldn’t have wanted Mhofu to take charge of ZIFA at some point? We can only imagine what sort of policies he would have formulated considering his background. This is a man who has seen-it-all in the game.
Unfortunately, he chose to do things differently and now he keeps quite when electrical engineers younger than him teach him about football. It made me wonder what they discuss in the coaches groupings – coaches’ associations and social media groups. I would expect them to discuss basic and pertinent issues like contracts, job descriptions, terms of reference, difficult bosses and how to handle them and conflict resolution.
The issues Mhofu moan about in the leaked audio clip are expected to come from Takesure Chiragwi, an apprentice in the trade and not from the most successful coach like Sunday. Mhofu should have been our Jomo Sono, if he still wanted his dance with coaching in charge of his team, our Kaizer Motaung and many other greats who now own their football clubs or their national associations.
Bothwell Mahlengwe is a banker and former Premiership footballer. This article first appeared in The Herald