Top Div 1 coaches do battle
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