By Tadious Manyepo
After spending years in the coaching wilderness, before being given a waiver to guide top-flight teams, Moses “Bambo” Chunga was hoping to be in the Chapungu dugout by now.
But, the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted the legendary footballer to his home for the past three months.
There was even a chance Chapungu, who were relegated from the Premiership last season, would be back in the top-tier on a technicality.
But, all that has vanished.
When Herentals had three points docked by the PSL Disciplinary Committee early this year, after being found guilty of allegedly fixing their league game against Black Rhinos last year, Chapungu were primed to replace them in the top-flight league.
However, the Students had that conviction overturned by the ZIFA Appeals Committee.
Chunga, who is also a farmer, said he knew what he was committing himself to when he signed to coach the airmen’s flagship football club.
“Maybe the chance (to play in the PSL) was there but, as far as I am concerned, Chapungu were never in the equation,” Chunga said.
“I accepted the Chapungu job knowing fully that they had been relegated from the top-flight.
“Of course, we occupied the last relegation slot and, maybe, there was a chance we could have been pushed back into the Premiership had things gone the other way round but, who knows.
“What I am more concerned about, at the moment, is building a team which can compete in Division One and then we get back where we belong in the PSL.
“Chapungu is part of the history of Zimbabwean football and we should always be playing against the very top teams and challenging for honours and, hopefully, we can build a team that can do that again.’’ Chunga said the Covid-19 pandemic had derailed his plans with the Air Force of Zimbabwe team.
“Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has affected us in a big way,’’ he said.
“Normally, the season would have been approaching the second half but we cannot do anything. Halting the season was the best thing to do and we thank the authorities for that stance.”
Chunga, a holder of CAF B coaching licence, is one of the several big name coaches who have, over the years, been forced to watch from the sidelines as ZIFA no longer allowed anyone without a CAF A license to sit on the bench of any PSL team.
However, Chunga got a reprieve as he won the league title with Gunners in 2009.
The same waiver has been extended to Chicken Inn mentor, Joey Antipas.
Chunga said he will let his work in the ZIFA Central Region Division One league do the talking when football activities eventually resume.
Chapungu have lost a number of their good players, including speedster Ian Nyoni, who is now with CAPS United, as well as goalkeeper Talbert Shumba.
“They say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. We just have to wait and see,’’ said Chunga. As for the players, who are no longer with Chapungu, let me say, Chapungu is an institution, a big one for that matter.
“We appreciate the role those players who have played for the team but, we are a big institution, we will always find equally good replacements.”
Recently, Chunga paid a courtesy call on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Settlement Minister, Perrance Shiri, at his offices in Harare.
“You know that I am a farmer, too, and I paid the minister a visit to discuss my farming project,’’ he said. The minister was heavily involved in the Chapungu project and it’s always important to tap into the knowledge of such senior people so that you understand exactly what you are going into. “As an individual, you should always keep learning.’’ The Herald