Top Div 1 coaches do bat­tle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo Se­nior Sports Reporter

CON­TENDERS for the Zifa South­ern Re­gion Divi­sion One League Coach of the Year ac­co­lade Jo­hannes Ngodzo and Zi­bonele Ncube face off when their re­spec­tive sides Bantu Rovers and Ama­ga­gasi do bat­tle in their last game of the sea­son in Vic­to­ria Falls to­mor­row.

Ac­cord­ing to the South­ern Re­gion League’s rules and reg­u­la­tions, con­tenders of the Coach of the Year award must have been in charge of at least 75 per­cent of their team’s games.

This ef­fec­tively rules out Bu­l­awayo Chiefs’ coach Thu­lani Sibanda, who was in charge of his team’s open­ing five games be­fore join­ing Chicken Inn as as­sis­tant to Rahman Gumbo. Sibanda re­joined Chiefs at the start of the sec­ond half of the sea­son, mean­ing to­mor­row’s game will be his 20th in charge of the log lead­ers.

Fo­cus will be in Vic­to­ria Falls, with the gaffer that gets the bet­ter of the other in the en­counter at Chino­timba Sta­dium en­hanc­ing his chances of clinch­ing the gong at an awards cer­e­mony to be held at a later date.

Be­sides Ngodzo and Ncube com­pet­ing for the best coach’s award, the two sides will be hop­ing to end their sea­son on a high.

How­ever, sec­ond-placed Rovers are hard-pressed for vic­tory for them to land the cham­pi­onship should lead­ers Bu­l­awayo Chiefs drop points at Ntabazin­duna.

Chiefs are at the top with 63 points, two ahead of Rovers. Should Chiefs draw while Rovers win, the two will end the sea­son tied on 64 points, with the lat­ter win­ning the cham­pi­onship be­cause of a su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence.

Ngodzo, who has done well by push­ing the cham­pi­onship race to the wire in his de­but sea­son as a coach with a rel­a­tively young squad, played down the pos­si­bil­ity of win­ning the best coach’s crown and in­stead de­manded that his charges fin­ish strongly.

“I’m not putting much thought on the award or the cham­pi­onship, which I think will be de­struc­tive. What we want is to end the sea­son on a pos­i­tive note.

“We know it won’t be easy play­ing at Chino­timba, but we’re go­ing to give it our all so that we re­turn with max­i­mum points. We will see what hap­pens af­ter that,” said Ngodzo.

Ncube also did a mar­vel­lous job at Ama­ga­gasi, in­still­ing a sense of self-be­lief in his un­her­alded squad, which bowed out of the cham­pi­onship race a fort­night ago, af­ter los­ing 0-1 to Chiefs.

The Ama­ga­gasi gaffer praised his charges for their 2016 per­for­mance and is hope­ful of re­tain­ing his squad.

“We re­ally worked hard and the play­ers de­serve praise. We gave a good fight and made sure we re­mained within the cham­pi­onship ma­trix till the last hour. Hope­fully we will be able to main­tain our squad and come back stronger next sea­son,” said Ncube, who will be at­tend­ing a Caf B Li­cence, which starts in Bu­l­awayo on Mon­day. — @ZililoR

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