Veteran Zimbabwean coach Sunday “Mhofu’’ Chidzambwa made history after leading Black Leopards to promotion in the South African Absa Premiership, the same year his First Division side unexpectedly reached the finals of the Nedbank Cup and booked a place in the 2012 Caf Confederations Cup.
Zimbabwe’s most accomplished mentor saw his Black Leopards side beat Bay United 2-0 on Saturday for a 2-0 aggregate win courtesy of goals from Raymond Monama and Mongezi Bobe.
It was a deserved victory for Chidzambwa and his charges after the first leg between the teams last Wednesday evening had ended goalless.
Leopards last played in the top flight in the 2007/08 season.
Raymond Manama opened the side’s account in the 28th minute after being afforded space to fashion a shot on the edge of the box.
Captain and fellow midfielder Mongezi Bobe doubled the margin in the 57th minute with a header from a Tintswalo Tshabalala cross on the left after finding himself unmarked in the box.
Buoyed by a vociferous attendance at the small Vhembe venue, the Limpopo outfit were quick to get off the blocks by putting pressure on the tentative visitors. An attempted long-range shot from wing-back Tshabalala needed to be palmed away by the agile Modiri Marumo in the United goal.
Relegated from the richest national football championship in Africa three years ago, Leopards were favoured ahead of the return match in the promotion play-offs final having forced a Port Elizabeth stalemate last week.
Chidzambwa started his career in South African football at the beginning of the season as coach of Absa Premiership club Free State Stars which he quit after only three matches.
His success with the first division side also adds another cap to his feather after leading a less-fancied Black Leopards team to the final of the Nedbank Cup where the first division side lost 3-1 to top South Africa club Orlando Pirates who also went on to win the top prize in South African football — the Absa Premiership.
Chidzambwa was the first Warriors coach to lead the country to an African Cup of Nations appearance that took place in Tunisia in 2004 and also the first Zimbabwean to reach the Caf Champions League final following his success with Dynamos in 1998.
Since then, no Zimbabwean club has reached the final of any Pan-African football competition with Dynamos nearly coming closer to that in 2008 when they reached the semi-finals under the guidance of David Mandigora.
Chidzambwa has two Cosafa Senior Challenge football titles with the Warriors and his brother Misheck added another to the four regional championships that Zimbabwe has won since the tournament was introduced in 1997.