Hwange in a fix

Raymond Jaravaza
HWANGE Football Club suspended coach Nation Dube’s alleged match fixing shenanigans are haunting the coalminers in a big way.

Following an order by Zifa to suspend Dube from all football related matters on match fixing allegations, the coalminers had put their faith on caretaker coaches Mebelo Njekwa and Brian Njobvu to take the team forward.

But amid revelations that one of the coaches is not a holder of a required Caf Licence coaching badge to sit on a Premier Soccer League club technical bench, the club will be forced to make last ditch efforts to find a replacement going into the 2016 season.

The Premiership season commences on 2 April.

National football mother body — Zifa — last month set new minimum requirements for soccer coaches across the country, which stipulate that a PSL coach must be a holder of a Caf B Licence or working towards attaining a Caf A Licence.

An assistant coach must be a holder of a Caf C Licence.

While Njekwa is a Caf A Licence holder, the same cannot be said for fellow caretaker coach Njobvu.

Njobvu is said to be a holder of a ZIfa Level Four coaching badge thus cannot sit on the technical bench even in an assistant coach capacity.

For now the coalminers will stick with Njekwa, a qualified but unheralded coach.

Save for the few matches that Njekwa assumed head coach duties when Dube was away on senior national team assignments, the Hwange native mentor is yet to prove his muscle as a substantive coach.

“Njekwa is more than qualified to sit on the bench. He is in charge of the team as we speak. I am not certain about the qualifications of Njobvu but I know for a fact Njekwa is qualified to coach the team,” said Hwange chairman Joseph Zulu.

But will the Hwange executive keep Njekwa on a substantive basis?

“For now I cannot speculate on the future of Njekwa and Njobvu as we (the club) have not received any communication from Zifa pertaining to the suspension of Nation Dube.

“As an affiliate of Zifa through the Premier Soccer League, we stand guided by what the national association says so we will take the appropriate action when we receive the letter from Zifa,” said Zulu.

One advantage that Njekwa enjoys is an intimate knowledge of Hwange Football Club, the culture of the team and its diehard supporters.

Njobvu could not be reached to verify claims that he holds the less fancied Zifa Level Four Licence. His mobile phone rang unanswered.

Allegations against Dube are that he was given money by a match fixing cartel to pay players during the African Nations Championships (CHAN) tournament in Rwanda last month. Zimbabwe were booted out in the group stages without a win from three matches.

He is also fingered together with Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo, former Warrriors coach Ian Gorowa and ex- Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya for trying to manipulate the Warriors African Nations Cup qualifiers against Swaziland in both legs in Mbabane and Harare.

Apart from losing the Hwange coaching job, Dube was also shown the door as Warriors assistant coach.

The new Zifa requirements have already claimed the scalp of Never Malunga who helped Border Strikers earn PSL promotion last season.

Malunga has now been relegated to the assistant coach’s role at the club which a month ago appointed Saul Chaminuka as the head coach.