Home » Sports » Spare a Thought for Mangwiro

TAURAI Mangwiro guided CAPS United to their best campaign in the league championship race in nine years, but — on a domestic football landscape that resembles a minefield — his name hasn’t even featured in the raging debate related to the 2014 Coach of the Year award. The Green Machine finished in third place, in the battle for the biggest prize on the domestic football scene, and while they matched the 2009 campaign, inspired by the likes of Nyasha Mushekwi and Method Mwanjali, Mangwiro’s Class of 2014 ended with more points on the board.

CAPS United finished just four points behind champions Dynamos, and three behind second-placed ZPC Kariba, after picking 53 points, their best showing since they won their second league championship, in back-to-back triumphs, under Charles Mhlauri in 2005.

The Green Machine won more games this season, than in any campaign since they were crowned champions nine years ago, and breached the 50-point mark, for only the second time since 2005.

Mangwiro’s men finished the season unbeaten at home, the first time that the Green Machine have achieved such a feat, something that Mhlauri’s Dream Team of 2004, which lost only one game all season and reaped a record 79 points, failed to do after they suffered their only loss at the National Sports Stadium against Highlanders.

CAPS United won nine of their home matches and drew the other six.

Their third-place finish, in the championship race, represented a huge improvement for a team that finished sixth in 2010, 18 points behind champions Motor Action, sixth in 2011, 15 points behind champions Dynamos, 10th in 2012, 30 points behind the champions DeMbare, and fifth last year, five points behind the Glamour Boys who were champions.

Mangwiro lost Tawanda “Rambo” Munyanduri, his defensive midfield rock, at the beginning of the season, who defected to ZPC Kariba, where he was the vice-captain, and did not only impress in his defensive duties, but also scored a vital goal for the Premiership newboys.

Midfielder Norest Mukwezaramba also left the Green Machine for ZPC Kariba at the start of the season and contributed three goals to their cause, while big forward Tawanda Nyamandwe completed the list of CAPS United players who moved to reinforce the ranks of the newboys who offered greener pastures.

They joined coach, Saul Chaminuka, who also moved to ZPC Kariba at the start of the season, and found a familiar face at the club, attacking midfielder Pride Tafirenyika who had left the Green Machine the previous year and played a big role in helping his new side win promotion from the tough ZIFA Northern Region Division One soccer League.

Tafirenyika was one of the stars of ZPC Kariba, in their debut season in the Premiership, scoring eight goals, and providing a lot of assists for his teammates, as they came within 90 minutes of winning the league championship only to choke, on the final weekend, as serial champions Dynamos made it four titles on the bounce.

Mangwiro’s campaign, unlike his rivals, was derailed by the problems that erupted in his camp, in the second half of the season, and the Green Machine dropped points, every time they had their in-house troubles, against Shabanie (away), Bantu Rovers (away) and Triangle (away).

They picked just two out of a possible nine points, in those games, and there are many analysts who believe that, had CAPS United’s challenge not been paralysed, at those crucial intervals, they would have ended their nine-year wait for the league title.

Interestingly, Mangwiro, who also took his men to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup only to lose to eventual winners FC Platinum at Mandava, hasn’t even featured in the debate that has been raging about the 2014 Coach of the Year.

Chaminuka was crowned Coach of the Year, after guiding ZPC Kariba into second place in the league and also losing in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup, and there are some who have been arguing that Callisto Pasuwa, who led Dynamos to the league championship, deserved the award.

Those who have been backing Chaminuka, as a worthy recipient of the Coach of the Year award, have been arguing that a coach doesn’t need to win titles, or silverware, for him to be honoured as the best in the Premiership.

Interestingly, even these people who are backing Chaminuka have not been talking about Mangwiro, whose name is unlikely to have featured among those who selected the Coach of the Year and the Soccer Stars of the Year, even though he satisfies their argument that one doesn’t need to win silverware to be honoured.

If Chaminuka deserves the Coach of the Year for beating Pasuwa, home and away, in their head-to-head meetings in the league, with their teams only separated by just one point at the end of the race, where does this leave Mangwiro?

His team took four points from Chaminuka, in their head-to-head meetings in the league, drawing 1-1 in the first game and then winning 3-2, in what proved to be the knockout punch for ZPC Kariba that ended their hopes for a league title, in the final match of the campaign at Gwanzura.

Others can argue that Mangwiro was not on the bench when the Green Machine hammered the fatal blow into ZPC Kariba’s title campaign but this was his team, which he had built, and he deserves credit for their result.

In this day and age, where matches are live on SuperSport, Mangwiro could even have been running the tactics from his hotel room in Cameroon, where he was attending a course on the day his men were beating ZPC Kariba.

Of course, Chaminuka and his men played their home matches away from home but, something that those who are backing the gaffer for the Coach of the Year award have been emphasising on, but ZPC Kariba only lost once, in their adopted home.

They won nine home games and drew the other five in Harare — as impressive a record as any home team can ask for.

Their only loss was against CAPS United.

2014 Castle Lager Premiership Top Three:

P W D L F A Pts

Dynamos 30 16 9 5 34 18 57

ZPC 30 15 11 4 42 25 56

CAPS 30 15 8 7 38 27 53

CAPS United Record: Home – Played 15, Won 9, Draw Six, Lost 0 Away – Played 15, Won 6, Draw 2, Lost 7

Chibuku Super Cup – Quarter-finalists

ZPC Kariba Record: Home – Played 15, Won 9, Draw 5, Lost 1 (against CAPS United) Away – Played 15, Won 6, Draw 6, Lost 3

Chibuku Super Cup – First Round

Head-To-Head CAPS United versus ZPC Kariba League

P W D L F A Pts

CAPS United 2 1 1 0 4 3 4

ZPC Kariba 2 0 1 1 3 4 1

Source : The Herald