Zimbabwean coach Madinda Ndlovu was not a popular choice when he was appointed to stir Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ ship to the league title at the beginning of the 2011/2012 Premier League season.
Unlike those who have been there before him, Ndlovu has managed to win back-to-back league championships. Surprisingly, Madinda has not won the hearts of the hard-to-please Chiefs’ supporters. As the players, supporters and management were busy celebrating their achievement at the end of their game against Mogoditshane Fighters in Molepolole yesterday, it was time for the charismatic tactician to ponder his future. In recent days Madinda’s future has attracted the attention of the media, Sunday Standard journalist TSHEPO MOLWANE reports.
When he signed a two-year contract with Chiefs in June 2011, the message was clear, “win us the league.” At the time when he arrived at Chiefs, they had last won their first league title in 2008 before coming second to Gaborone United in 2009 and Township Rollers in 2010 and 2011. Though promises are hard to make, Madinda accepted the challenge to lead Chiefs to the title and dethrone Rollers. At the end of the 2011/2012, he had achieved his promise as Chiefs were crowned the League Champions.
The second season was obviously not going to be easy for Madinda and his charges. Firstly, he lost his key striker Joel Mogorosi to Bloemfontein Celtic in the South African Premier League. That did not make him lose focus as he believed that he still possessed a strong squad to defend the title.
Their participation in CAF Champions League meant that Chiefs were going to face a backlog of fixtures. Little did he know that his club would go through their worst spell ever. Chiefs went through a seven-match winless streak which put Madinda under the microscope. Fans and everyone close to Chiefs called for his head. There were reports of Mike Sithole replacing the Zimbabwean tactician but it never happened. In the past week it has been reported BMC head coach Daniel Nare is touted as the man to take reins at Magosi next season.
As speculations were rife about his future, Madinda chose not to comment as he focused on landing his second league title. Trying to pin down Madinda for an interview has not been an easy thing but when he finally agreed, it was very clear that it has not been easy for him. He is quick to admit that coaching a big club with huge expectations like Chiefs is like living in hell. Like many used to say, coaching is not for the faint hearted.
“I decided not to comment on the things which were being said about me in the media because I wanted to focus on my job. I was asked to come and win the championship. I have delivered and what makes it more exciting is that I’ve won the title back to back. That’s a huge achievement for me because whether I’m staying or not it will remain in the history books,” said Madinda.
His game against Fighters yesterday might prove to be his last and those who argue that he is not an intelligent boss will sigh with relief. But he seems not bothered about what some people think of him.
“Nobody has come forward to tell me that I’m a bad coach. I think a coach is judged by his achievements and the results are there to argue my case. Sir Alex Ferguson is respected worldwide by the number of League titles he has won (in England with Manchester United). Let me make it clear that I did not come here to make friends but to do my job. If Chiefs feel that I should continue or not with the team it’s entirely their choice. Up to now, they have not said anything about my future which means it might be end of our road,” he continued.
When asked to sum up the past two seasons he has spent at Chiefs, Madinda kept quiet for some minutes before saying, “It has been a rollercoaster ride for me but when you talk about the results in the playing field, I would say it has been marvelous. The problem this past season is that we did not have a proper pre-season. Our planning was disturbed a lot by lots of rumours concerning my future.”
Madinda praised his players for the support they have accorded him in the past two seasons. He said that they managed to win two consecutive titles because his players were united.
“It takes a real man to deal with the kind of players in this team. When I came here there were reports that Chiefs’ players are tired horses but they proved many people wrong. But if Chiefs want to continue winning next season, they have to beef up key areas in the team like goalkeeping, defence and strike force. I think in the midfield there is a lot of talent,” he said.
As he is left to ponder his future, one thing for sure is that Madinda has made a name for himself despite all the challenges he faced. Already there are reports that Township Rollers are watching developments closely as they want him to come and bring back the winning mentality to the club.