Township Rollers’ head coach Darlington Dodo is a man under immense pressure to deliver.
Since joining Mapalastina at the start of the current campaign, Dodo has not won the hearts of most of the club’s hot-heads. After a promising start to the new year, one would have thought that he would win the hearts of scores of Rollers’ supporters but it has not been the case. When his side crumbled to a 1-0 defeat to BMC in a Premier League game on Tuesday night, some sections of supporters are calling for the Zimbabwean tactician’s head before it gets late.
Despite the fact that it was Rollers’ first loss in the New Year, some supporters argue that Dodo has failed to prove that he is a good coach. After the loss to BMC, some Rollers’ supporters vented their anger on different radio stations and social networks.
Austin Zachariah commented, “Dodo doesn’t have a starting 11 in all games he has played so far. The guy is clueless and you cannot tell the type of football we’re playing.”
Another supporter, Thapelo Mogami, said that Dodo must be fired with immediate effect.
As his side prepares for the second leg of the Mascom Top 8 quarterfinal tie against ECCO City Greens at Molepolole Stadium this afternoon (kick off at 3pm), nothing less than a convincing win over their opponents will save Dodo from the supporters. Rollers take a narrow 2-1 lead going into the second leg after goals from veteran midfielder Lawrence Majawa and Onalethata Tshekiso won the first leg. Already there is talk that some advisors to Rollers’ executive have suggested that Zambian Mike Sithole be brought in until the end of the season.
Sithole was at the helm of Mapalastina when they lifted the inaugural Mascom Top 8 tournament last year.
Dodo is keeping his fingers crossed that his side wakes up from slumber and proceeds to the semi-finals.
“We’re focusing on the game (against ECCO) and we know what is expected from us. The lead we’re taking into this game does not mean that we’ll sit back because that would be dangerous. Of course, we’ll be a bit cautious but we know we have to win at all costs,” said Dodo.
He accepted that supporters have a right to be angry after their loss to BMC but pointed out it was not deliberate. He said that they take each and every game seriously. When asked whether he is under pressure to deliver the results against ECCO this afternoon, Dodo played his cards close to his chest.
“There is always pressure in this game. Everyone expects you to make things happen (when the going gets tough).”
He said that he cannot blame people who are doubting his tactics saying that it happens in a game of football, especially when results are not coming.
Rollers have a number of match winners going into today’s tie. On their good day, the likes of Tshekiso, Ntesang Simanyana and Lovemore Murwira can be a menace to lot of defenders. But it is at the back where Rollers are at times found wanting. Goalkeeper Mwampule Masule has failed to convince despite getting the nod ahead of youngster Thabiso Mathe.