When the season started, no one would have bet Monomotapa United to lay claim for the title, not even having a top-four finish.
Report by By Ranganai Dzotizei
Since their walk to league honours in 2008 and the African Safari expedition thereafter, Monoz have failed to build on that momentum and have instead retreated to the tag of also-rans in the Premiership.
Fast forward to 2012 and the story has been far short of just extraordinary, but phenomenal.
Sitting pretty at fourth position on the log with 47 points from 27 outings, this is a mark of a team that has proved that persistence is the key to success.
What makes their performance this season even sweeter is the fact that the class of 2012 still had the verve to maintain their pedigree at the top despite changing personnel, precipitated by the sudden departure of Taurai Mangwiro.
His replacement Biggie “Bindura” Zuze has not only picked up from where his predecessor left, but has made Monoz such an irresistible machine with the potential to cause damage to any opposition on their day.
“We didn’t have the best of starts to the season with a poor away record, but we improved on the road. I’m happy with how we have conducted ourselves this season,” Zuze said.
“I demand a lot from players and always tell them that results come during training not on match day. Discipline among players is important and that has carried us all the way.”
Not only has Monoz secured good results in the better part of the season including beating Dynamos, but they have achieved what others failed — to bring to halt Highlanders’ juggernaut.
They tore Bosso’s 23-match unbeaten run with a sizzling 3-0 win at Rufaro in a league match before repeating another giant killing act in the Mbada Diamonds Cup against the same opponents, coming from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 at the Colliery two weeks ago.
Such was the gravity of the league result that it sent tremors across the local football landscape and made people take notice of Monoz.
“I always tell my players to raise their game when meeting the big guns. They should not look at names, but go and play a normal game like any other match.”
There is no substitute for experience and the recalling of players like Tawanda Nyamandwe and Kudakwashe Musharu from season-long loans has turned out to be a master stroke, as they formed a lethal partnership with standout players like Osborne Mukuradare and Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo in a defining season.
“Those players (Musharu and Nyamandwe) have experience at the highest level. As senior players, I expected them to lead by example and they have not disappointed. Kuda and Tawanda have been inspirational and I’m glad of their input.”
With three matches still to go in the league, a return to the African terrain will be a huge reward for their roller coaster season. Zuze is bracing up for the challenges that lie ahead.
As the season nears the end, Monoz will be itching to start dishing early Christmas presents to their fans and they can use today’s clash with Dynamos to start popping champagne bottles.