IndependentSport ViewItai Dzamara
I AM glad to introduce this column, “IndependentSport View” which will become a regular feature to analyse, criticise and debate over issues in the various sporting
disciplines in the country.
It is expected to become a platform for objective and balanced comment on performance, issues of sports administration, sponsorship as well as development of sports in Zimbabwe.
Be that as it may, for that to be achieved through this column, its focus and scope should be as wide as possible, not only to cater for the various sporting disciplines but also to broaden the views and observations.
I therefore welcome contributions to this column from readers, technical members in the sports fraternity, players themselves and officials.
It is my desire to have various contributions each week from everyone across the spectrum of the beautiful world of sports.
May I get the ball rolling – or is it the racket swinging – by dwelling on the perennially troubled local soccer fraternity.
Recent developments at a number of the top-flight Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs have left me wondering whether the chaos that has been known to cripple the local game will ever end.
Utterances by AmaZulu owner Delma Lupepe as reported by Herald acting sports editor Lawrence Moyo last week were saddening.
“Look there is no way AmaZulu will miss the services of (Luke) Masomere because last season I was actually the coach and all he did was to help monitor the guys at practice while I was going about my business either in town or in Harare,” Lupepe claimed. “I would select the team and determine the substitutions and it worked. Look at what he is doing at Dynamos now that I am not by his side on the bench.”
It was shocking to read these claims by Lupepe who I have always held in high esteem for having defied the odds in a harsh economy to successfully establish AmaZulu as a professional outfit. Unconfirmed reports have always been rife since the days of founding AmaZulu coach Charles Mhlauri, alleging Lupepe’s undue interference in the technical department’s job.
But Lupepe’s way of (mis) managing football is not isolated. His utterances came in the midst of uncertainty at Dynamos over the future of Masomere, the reigning Castle Lager Coach of the Year.
The interim executive at Dynamos is reported by our Bulawayo correspondent as having held a meeting in one of the members’ vehicle (a Mercedes Benz) soon after the defeat by Railstars last week.
The meeting is understood to have been heated and ended up agreeing to give Masomere one more chance against AmaZulu last Sunday. Had he lost, he would have faced the axe.
The coach had guided Dynamos to the first round of the CAF Confederations Cup after edging SC Savanne of Mauritius. His cardinal sin was losing the first two league matches to Zimbabwe Saints and Railstars and not fielding players preferred by some executive members.
Such action by the Dynamos interim executive was inevitably going to incite Dynamos fans. The result was there for all to see at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday where the atmosphere was very tense and some vehicles damaged after the match despite the Dynamos victory.
A week before, Chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo had abandoned the stage for the changing room at Gwanzura Stadium to offer some lecture to then Sporting Lions coach Dromert Chirova after the team’s third defeat in succession.
That was after Mapfumo had spent the entire match shouting instructions from the terraces and I remember him branding most of his players “amateurs and useless”. Chirova was subsequently fired.
But it is known by most soccer followers that Mapfumo parted ways with his partners who helped him form the team into a flamboyant and talent-endowed outfit. That led to the dismantling of the force that the team had become and it had to restart from scratch without any seasoned player.
I met Chirova just before the PSL kick-off in Harare and asked him how he was doing at Masvingo United. He revealed that he had left after less than a three-month stint.
The bus owner Tanda Tavaruva would come to the team’s practice session and intervene in the coach’s workouts to “impart his knowledge and skills to the players”. He would also storm into the dressing room before a match or at half time to give his line-up or suggestions on substitution.
I am of the firm conviction that we should appreciate individuals such as Mapfumo, Lupepe, Tavaruva or the gang at Dynamos who put their resources in the game. But I don’t believe they must be allowed to create chaos by holding everyone else to ransom.
Lupepe and others of his ilk must own the clubs, provide the resources and probably seat on the board of directors but must establish structures comprising executives to run the clubs.
Below the executive must be a technical team bestowed with due powers and authority over players and proceedings on the field of play.
If Lupepe or Mapfumo believe they are better coaches, why not bite the bullet and abandon their other endeavours for the hot seats at Rufaro, Barbourfields, Luveve, Maglas etc.
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