MARK MATHE is someone who prefers to operate in the shadows but there is no question he is one of the unsung heroes of the domestic Premiership.
In the past three seasons, he has chosen to work under Lloyd Chitembwe and Mark Harrison, even though he is qualified enough to lead a domestic Premiership side.
And, while his bosses have grabbed all the limelight, there is no question that Mathe has been proving he is a gem of a coach in his own right.
He helped CAPS United win the league championship two years ago, working under Chitembwe, as they found a way to beat the challenge of FC Platinum.
He plunged into the Champions League trenches last year and, working under Chitembwe, helped the Green Machine qualify for the group stages of the tournament.
CAPS United eliminated five-time African champions TP Mazembe and then beat Egyptian giants Zamalek in the group phase of the tourney.
At the beginning of the year, Mathe joined Harare City as the assistant coach to Harrison.
And, as the club continue to punch above their weight, including beating champions FC Platinum recently and fighting for a top-four place, focus has now shifted to Mathe’s priceless contribution.
Given that Harare City were relegated last year, only to be invited back into the Premiership via the backdoor, their campaign, so far, has been magical.
Harare City had a dismal league campaign last season under Philani “Beefy” Ncube that saw them being relegated.
At this juncture last season, Harare City had won seven games, drawn as many times while losing 10 matches after match day 24.
But this season the municipal team have accumulated 35 points, having won eight games, drawn eleven times and lost just four matches.
And, Mathe’s contribution as a coach is beginning to charm a lot of neutrals.
That the Green Machine have struggled all season, since his departure, has also put his input into focus.
While Makepekepe had amassed 34 points after 23 games last season, two less than what they have this term after the same number of games, they were fighting on two fronts, having made it to the CAF Champions League group stages.
Harrison said Mathe was a good coach.
“Mark is a good coach who can be trusted through and through. This is not our first time to work together,” said Harrison.
“We were together at CAPS United and I like his work ethic, his understanding of football and his methods of coaching.
“He is a rare breed of up-to-scratch mentors whom one can trust working with.
“That’s why I recommended him. He is that type of a coach who can help implement set objectives. I mean, he is just fantastic.
“We have punched above our weight as Harare City in a season we were expected to perform dismally given that we had to abruptly switch our attention to Premiership when we had actually prepared ourselves for Division One.
“This is obviously attributable to people like Mark (Mathe) as well as the hardworking boys.’’
Interestingly, the Green Machine are not looking the same after the departure of the magical Mathe touch as the team is struggling for consistence.
Asked what impact did Mathe have on his team, Chitembwe described him as a fantastic coach.
“Honestly, Mark is one of those characters whom football needs. He is a hard worker, a listener, an advisor and just what one would ask for,’’ said Chitembwe.
“We worked well together at CAPS United before he joined Mark (Harrison) at Harare City. They are both good coaches.
“Mathe is someone who has that unique touch.
His work ethic is just fantastic and when it comes to work he is just one man whom you can pin your hopes on.’’ The Herald.