ZPC Kariba may have failed to register their name in the history books by becoming the second team after Black Rhinos to win the championship on their maiden flight in the top league but their outstanding performance has not gone unnoticed.
BY BRIAN NKIWANE
After playing extraordinarily well the entire season, ZPC Kariba crumbled in the last lap, losing 3-2 to CAPS United, thereby surrendering the title to four-time champions Dynamos.
However, Kauya Katuruturu or Gwenya rekuchamhembe, as ZPC Kariba is affectionately known to their supporters, carved their own piece of history on Friday night. The PSL debutants became the first team to provide the top three players on the Zimbabwean soccer calendar and capped it all by grabbing the Coach of the Year award as well.
ZPC Kariba hardman Dennis Dauda was crowned Soccer Star of the Year while teammates Tendai Hove and Limited Chikafa were named first and second runner up respectively. The team gaffer, Saul Chaminuka was named Coach of the Year.
After the presentation, ZPC Kariba supporters present said the top three accolades as well as the Coach of the Year award were good enough to comfort Chaminuka and his boys after that heartbreaking last minute miss on the championship. But Chaminuka thought otherwise.
He said 2014 was ZPC Kariba’s year.
“I think everything happens according to God’s plans. I feel we could have done more than this. This was our year.
Hard work is an ingredient for success. I spelt my intention to win the league title on the first day that I was given the job as ZPC Kariba head coach,” he said.
“One has to set out objectives that he would want to achieve at the end of the day and come up with a special way of doing it.
I told my players that we were going to start training on January 23 and I told every player that whoever wanted to be part of us should be available on that day. Come at your own time and you will not be part of us. Like I said, we parted ways with a number of players who did not turn up on that particular day but here we are.”
Chaminuka reckons that the success boils down to hard work.
“As a coach I have never had problems with my players. I feel I could have had more players in this selection if others had not accumulated prohibiting cards. All the three, Dauda, Hove and Chikafa have been hard-working and I think our results were on the wall for everyone to see each time we played without one of them. They have been the pillars of ZC Kariba through and through.”
Football analysts in Zimbabwe that include veteran broadcaster Charles Mabika and former Soccer Star and golden boot winner Zenzo Moyo have heaped praise on ZPC Kariba for achieving the feat.
“This is a first in Zimbabwean football. Surely, if other players were not restricted by card accumulation, they could have provided more players on this panel,” Mabika said.
Highlanders legend Moyo said he thinks team work played an important role in ZPC Kariba achieving that feat.
“I have watched ZPC Kariba play. They have average players but they have that zeal to work for each other. Teamwork is important than anything else,” Moyo said.
Dynamos hold the record as having the highest number of players (six) on the calendar in 1972. The six players were Simon Sachiti, Ernest Kamba, George Shaya, Daniel Ncube (late), Stephen Chimedza (late) and Shaw Handiriade (late). Shaya was voted Soccer star while Handiriade was second runner up.
In 1973, DeMbare continued its dominance as it had four players on the calendar — Isaac Nhema, Handiriade, Kamba and Shaya. Only Kamba who was voted Soccer Star made it into the top three.
Highlanders had their dominance in 1988 when they had four finalists — Peter Nkomo, Willard Khumalo, Alexander Maseko and Mercedes Sibanda. Only Sibanda was voted first runner up to Soccer Star Ephraim Chawanda.
ZPC Kariba has therefore, clearly set a record screaming to be broken — if that can happen!