BY HENRY MHARA
SAKUNDA Holdings, the principal sponsors of Dynamos and Highlanders, say they are worried by the events at the two football clubs after the giants last week wielded axes on their coaches.
First, Highlanders fired Mandla Mpofu citing poor results and days later, Dynamos brewed a shocker by suspending coach Tonderai Ndiraya on Saturday.
While Mpofu’s sacking had the blessing of the majority of Bosso’s supporters, who were not happy with the team’s performance this far, Ndiraya’s suspension came as a surprise to most of the Dynamos fans.
Many of them have expressed their disapproval of the decision on social media.
The decision by the club not to disclose the reasons for such a drastic action on the man who has guided the team to its best league start in years has further infuriated the team’s followers.
NewsDay Sport has gathered that Sakunda Holdings are worried by last week’s events, particularly the suspension of Ndiraya, who has been credited with bringing stability to the club.
“As sponsors, we are obviously worried when such things happen because it tends to destabilise things at the club, and our brand will naturally be dragged into the mess,” a source at the company said.
“Obviously, there is nothing much we can do as sponsors, but we feel that whatever is happening (at Dynamos) could have been handled better.”
Not so long ago, Sakunda Holdings chief executive Kudakwashe Tagwirei, whose energy company is oiling the two clubs’ operations, called for patience on Mpofu and Ndiraya.
Speaking at a kit unveiling ceremony for the two clubs in Harare early this year, Tagwirei urged the two clubs’ top hierarchy to give their coaches support.
Those calls have been flagrantly ignored by the two clubs.
“Being successful is always a journey. It is not something that starts today and tomorrow you become successful,” Tagwirei said.
“It (success) takes some time, and a lot of work. When we were looking at the results at the beginning of the year, we were all worried that things were not going to be as good as they should be.
“For me I was not so much worried about the results as most of the people were. I was worried about consistency in whatever we do. I want to encourage all of us to be patient with the coaches, and with the players. Allow them to acclimatise in their newness.
“It will take time, and when they get into that place, they are going to succeed. As Sakunda, we are not associated with failure, and you are going to see that.”
Sources within the camp have also said players were not happy with Ndiraya’s suspension, with many said to be “disillusioned” by the decision.
Dynamos looked to be in good space under Ndiraya as they currently sit second on the log standings, just one point behind leaders Chicken Inn after 15 rounds of matches.
They only lost the top position on the log table last weekend because their clash against Highlanders was abandoned due to crowd trouble.
The club’s executive yesterday tried to pacify the players with an address at their training base, where chairman Isaiah Mupfurutsa told them that “Ndiraya was still the club’s coach”.
The club’s security, working under instruction from the executive, barred journalists from the team’s training session yesterday, but the players looked downcast.
Assistant coach Naison Muchekela took charge of the training session ahead of the match against Herentals at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
It is not clear if Ndiraya will be back for the weekend’s match or the club will be under a new coach, with several names being thrown around as his possible replacement.
Kaitano Tembo’s name has been the prominent one although the former SuperSport United coach has previously said he would not “downgrade” himself by coaching in the local league.
Ndiraya’s charge sheet has not been made public, but reports suggest that his crime borders on insubordination after he reportedly failed to turn up for a meeting last week called by the executive ostensibly “to review the team’s recent performances”.
He reportedly sent in his assistants to the meeting instead.
There is a general feeling that Saturday’s development could rock DeMbare’s campaign that had looked so promising.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara