SUNDAY Chidzambwa has emerged as the front runner for the vacant post at Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) side ZPC Kariba following the departure of Saul Chaminuka on Thursday.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
Chaminuka, otherwise known as King Saul, was shown the exit door on Thursday following the team’s 2-1 loss to Harare City.
After starting the season with a 2-0 win over Highlanders at Gwanzura, hopes were high that, like last season, ZPC Kariba would challenge for the championship. They fell to Caps United on the last day of the 2014 season,surrendering the title to Dynamos.
The win over Bosso was followed by a 3-3 away draw to Hwange at the Colliery before they returned home to thrash Buffaloes 5-2 at Gwanzura, followed by a 2-1 loss to Chapungu.
Here Chaminuka blew his fuse and ranted at the match officials for playing in Chapungu’s corner, thereby incurring the wrath of the PSL Rules and Regulations, and was promptly fined $1 200.
But still it was so far so good with seven points from three matches.
Then ZPC Kariba drew 1-1 with Dongo and by the same scoreline to Caps United and Flame Lily and the executive started perusing his contract.
They found what they wanted: “A minimum of five points from every three matches.” Finish and klaar! There is the door, exclaimed club chairman Munyaradzi Nduna.
But he was given 90 more minutes as processes had to be put in place for his eventual departure, but during the wait, Harare City did better than Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and delivered a 2-1 knockout.
But what really nailed Chaminuka were two issues — a frosty relationship with Nduna and his contract.
Said a source yesterday: “The coach and the chairman were not always in good books and he (Nduna) was always looking for a way to fire him. Unfortunately, results did not go Saul’s way and it’s in black and white that he had to get a minimum of five points from every three matches, so he had to go.
“That he has been suspended is just a nice way of telling people what has happened, but the environment has been poisoned to such an extent that he (Chaminuka) cannot go back to the club.
“To avoid such things, you just have to keep on winning, but this is football and anything can happen. Other teams are also playing well; they are not on holiday in the PSL.”
In the meantime, the recently unbanned Chidzambwa has emerged as the top contender for the post.
“Sunday is the best candidate for now. They are talking to him and he could take charge as early as Monday. They are not taking any chances for now and since they have invested heavily in players, they want a person who will deliver results,” another source close to the developments told NewsDay Sport yesterday.
Chidzambwa has been recommended for the senior national women’s technical director post, but with the Mighty Warriors out of action for a while, Zimbabwe’s most successful coach would relish a chance to jump back into club football at the earliest opportunity.
Moses Chunga, who quit Buffaloes before the start of the season, and Joisten Mathuthu, who got ZPC Kariba into the Premiership before being elbowed out for lack of qualifications, have reportedly thrown in some fillers as well.
At the end of last season, Chaminuka’s successful technical team was dismantled with manager Patson Ndabambi’s contract not being renewed while goalkeepers’ coach Tembo Chuma jumped ship to join his former mentor Kelvin Kaindu at Triangle.
“Since that time, Chaminuka knew he was living on borrowed time and the only way out was to keep winning, but that was not going to be possible,” sources said.
Both the club’s spokesperson Fadzai Chisveto and club chairman Nduna were not available for comment yesterday.
Ahead of this afternoon’s match against Chicken Inn at Gwanzura Stadium, rookie Oliver Matava has been thrown into the fray and will be assisted by team manager Paul “Popopo” Chimalizeni, the man that Chaminuka was reportedly not on talking terms with.
Matava will be hoping for a winning start against leaders Chicken Inn who, under Joey Antipas, have been doing their work quietly picking up six wins, a loss and draw to perch on 19 points.