Former Warriors and Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu is on cloud nine in the Botswana be Mobile Premier Soccer League.
As coach at Mochudi Centre Chiefs, he has overseen the club’s rise to the top after the first half of the season where 16 rounds of matches were played.
Chiefs lead the standings with 41 points, eight ahead of second-placed BMC who have 33, nine ahead of Elvis Chuchu Chiweshe’s Gaborone United (GU) who have 32 points.
Township Rollers, once coached by now FC Platinum coach Rahman Gumbo, and Nico United are further behind with 30 points each, to complete the top five.
Gumbo also coached Chiefs in 2010 before returning home in July to take over at Platinum.
Ndlovu’s team has won 13 games, drawn twice and lost once hitting the back of the net 56 times and conceding 14 goals.
Chiefs are home to two Zimbabweans — Elvis Meleka and Arnold Chaka — while they could also add Tendai Ndoro of Chicken Inn if they manage to fork out the
$10 000 demanded by the Bulawayo club for the services of the striker.
They won the league title in 2008 — the same year they scooped the FA Challenge Cup and the Orange Kabelano Charity Cup — which they had also won in 1997 and 2005. They have appeared in the old Caf Cup twice — in 1997 and 2005 — bowing out in the second and first rounds respectively.
Ndlovu is yet to win a league title and the current standings in Botswana give him the best chance if his charges can maintain the momentum going into the second half of the season, after the end of the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Chiweshe’s GU have to play catch-up in the New Year, although it will be tough as Chiefs have to lose at least three games in a row.
While it has all been rosy for Ndlovu and Chiweshe, Tafic coach Blessing Moyo — son to former Hwange coach Paul — has lost his job at Tafic.
Tafic have won six matches, drawn four and lost six. However, Tafic spokesman Thomas Tshabalala believes despite the slump, it has not been a bad season for his squad.
Tshabalala said they were busy strategising how they coud return to form. Things were looking up on November 26 when Tafic claimed the scalp of BDF XI, but then the situation spiralled out of control.
Instability crept in with reports of late payment of salaries and rising cases of indiscipline.
According to reports, coach Moyo’s relationship with the management deteriorated and it was not long before he was sacked.
“Just how do you expect an unhappy player to perform to the highest level?” he wondered before he left.
After his departure, some players staged a boycott in sympathy. Some of the players reportedly participated in a social football tournament on the eve of a league match against BMC.
Among the players who boycotted the game was the exciting Tlhagiso Mamono. The Under-20 international has shown he has talent, but he might be derailed by the atmosphere at Tafic.
“We are playing with a newly-built team that has shown promise. It has been able to play tough teams like Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs and those teams can tell you that it was not easy,” he said.
He stated his players had made a mistake of playing in youth games, between Area W and Area L townships. Despite the setbacks, Tshabalala is confident the second round would be better.
“People had expected Tafic to be in the relegation zone together with perennial candidates like GNT, Satmos and Miscellaneous, but we managed to perform to our best. Come next year, our boys will no longer have stage fright so we are going to improve from where we left,” Tshabalala asserted.