Thursday, May 19, 2022

Chikwanda was never the right choice for BDF XI

Like a true soldier, Addanes is a disciplinarian and when he assumed the position of chairmanship at BDF XI, he warned that he would not accommodate anyone who was disciplined.

He also said he expected his side to play entertaining football at the same time producing results.

When Chikwanda came into the army fold last December to replace Letang Kgengwenyane, Matebele were on fire.

Chikwanda benefited from the hard work which was put in by Kgwengenyane before he was sent on an army scholarship in Zambia.

While Matebele were unfortunate not to be crowned League champions in the 2013/4 Premier League season after they lost six points for taking football matters to court, the army side went on to win the Mascom Top 8 Cup at the expense of Township Rollers. It was all celebrations for the army side and many turned a blind eye to the fact that BDF XI were not as good as six months ago.

Then it meant that Chikwanda had to start afresh ahead of the 2014/5 Premier League season. This time around, he had to take the team through the pre-season training, bringing in new players.

When the League campaign kicked off in August, there were already complaints about the soft-spoken coach.

The players were questioning his training methods and his failure to instill discipline in the team. While these issues were never reported in the media, it was clear there was a listless mood inside Matebele camp.

Some players took to venting their frustrations on social networks. “It is disheartening to see a coach coming in and dismantling all the hard work which was put in by another man. I’ve always said Rasta Kgengwenyane was the right man for this club. He worked hard to turn the club around,” posted one player on Facebook. Other players commented and discredited Chikwanda. It was clear that soon enough player power would take over at Matebele.

When BMC came out with guns blazing to hammer the army side 4-0 at SSKB Stadium on September 14, it was evident the writing was on the wall. The management ignored the humiliation saying it was one of those bad days in office.

Against Mochudi Centre Chiefs, BDF XI surrendered a 2-1 lead to lose the match 4-2 and in the end Chikwanda used Bonolo Phuduhudu’s early shower as an excuse.

Subsequently, Matebele laboured to victories like away to Sankoyo Bush Bucks last month. But the reality soon came in at BDF XI. A 2-0 home loss to Gaborone United on November 29 was a clear sign that things were falling apart. But the last straw came in when BDF XI succumbed to a 1-0 loss to bottom of the table Letlapeng in Lobatse last weekend.

In his post-match interview after a shocking loss to rookies Letlapeng, Chikwanda said that there were divisions in the team hence they never came to the party on the day. He pointed out that the players were no longer responding to him.

According to sources, it was a sign that players were not happy with their mentor. The loss was BDF XI’s fifth of the season, leaving them with 21 points from 12 matches ahead of this afternoon’s clash with Police XI at the SSKB Stadium.

A few days after firing Chikwanda, Addanes admitted that they have erred in bringing the Zambian mastermind on board. He said when he arrived their hopes were high considering that the team was on fire but he disappointed them.

“He failed to build on the foundation he found at the club. I must admit that we’ve taken a long to take a decision but at the end it was for the best of the club. The supporters were now getting impatient and the players were also not giving their best,” said Addanes.

The army brigadier pointed out that since they are paying their coaches well, he expects them to deliver without any excuses. He added that losing five games before the end of the first round was a serious dent to their League title aspirations.

“There was a need to act now and we believe that we can still challenge for honours. We’ve had a meeting with the players and their attitude has changed. You can see at the way they’re pushing themselves in training, they’re happy. This is the kind of the spirit we want,” BDF XI boss continued.

In the interim, BDF XI have appointed Joel Chonga and Barney Marman to be in charge of the last three matches of the year.

Matebele take on Police XI this afternoon at SSKB Stadium before taking on Extension Gunners and Nico United to wrap up the first round.

“We’re not going to rush to find a replacement. We need a coach who will take us somewhere and instill discipline into the team and most importantly make the players enjoy their football,” he said.

Information reaching this publication indicates that Extension Gunners’ head coach Dragojlo Stanojlovic is a front runner for the job.

The Serbian, though not fluent in English, is said to be a favourite of a number of BDF XI executive members. The issue is said to be a highly guarded secret at the barracks. “They’re going to offer Drago a contract he’ll not resist and if all goes according to plan he’ll leave Gunners at the end of the year. If they fail in their coup, then Rasta (Letang Kgengwenyane) will be appointed upon arrival in the country. The good thing is that Rasta understands the culture of the club and the players. He will also not need a work-permit to start drilling the boys,” said a source.

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