MIGHTY Warriors newly-appointed head coach Shadreck Mlauzi is not new to women football and the new job is just an added challenge that he says he welcomes with open hands.
BY THANDIWE MOYO
Mlauzi — a teacher by profession — started coaching during his high school days at Methodist Vocational Training Centre in Bulawayo.
His elder brother Dumisani, who was also involved in women’s football, convinced him to take up coaching while he was still at school.
Dumisani coached the now defunct West Swallows and North Rovers. It was at Rovers where Mlauzi cut his teeth as a coach. ‘
“I started coaching in 1999 when I was doing my Advanced Level at Methodist,” said Mlauzi when Standardsport caught up with him at Ihlathi High School. As sports director at Sikhulile High School, he was at Ihlathi where the district was hosting an Under-15 netball tournament.
“I joined Lwazi Mabaleka at North Rovers and it was then that I started my coaching career,” he said.
From that time, Mlauzi has attended a number of courses to enhance his coaching abilities.
He currently holds a Zifa Level Four coaching certificate, CAF B Certificate, Fifa Goalkeeping Certificate and is a fourth year student at the Zimbabwe Open University where he is studying Sports Science.
Mlauzi is a physical education teacher at Sikhulile and during weekends he is assistant coach in the Southern Region Division 1 League’s Ntabazinduna where football legend Agent Sawu is head coach.
Ntabazinduna are 11th on the log with 28 points and this weekend they take on Casmyn at Turk Mine.
Before joining Ntabazinduna, Mlauzi made a name coaching Inline Academy which has produced players that include Rudo Neshamba, Samukelisiwe Zulu, Rejoice Kampfumvuti and Nobuhle Majika — players that have made an impact in the Mighty Warriors side.
With Inline, he won the NetOne Knock Out Tournament last year after beating Black Rhinos in a match which also saw him being awarded the Coach of the Tournament gong.
In 2006, he was appointed the provincial Under-20 Zimbabwe National Youth Games coach and in 2008 he landed the national Under-20 women’s team assistant coach’s job with Langton Giwa as the head.
That same year, they assembled a team that comprised both seniors and juniors for the Cosafa Senior Women’s Challenge, where they won a bronze medal.
They followed that up with the Region 5 Youth Games gold medal in Swaziland in 2010.
Last year he was part of the Region 5 Cosafa study group that had the likes of Benedict Moyo, Sawu, Marko Dube, Oscar Mazhambe, Bekezela Mamvundla, Bongani Mafu, Christine Mpanza, Judith Lunga and Nomsa “Boyz” Moyo.
He was given his first head coaching task in 2013 but said he did not get the chance to play.
“Then, junior teams were not a priority and even though I was appointed, I did not get the chance to play,” he said.
Last year he was Sawu’s assistant when they claimed silver at the Youth Games in the men’s side. This year they won gold.
“It is exciting that I have been appointed the national team coach,” said Mlauzi of his appointment.
“The job is one of the most highly rated in the country and I am excited at the prospect of exhibiting my coaching and managerial skills. I have been through a lot in coaching and I have worked with a number of teams. This has built me as an individual. I may appear young but I have gained that much-needed experience,” he said.
Mlauzi said his first assignment would be to bring together warring factions within the league in order to produce a united national team.
He said at the moment, there were two leagues — the official Zimbabwe national Women’s Super League and another run by former chairperson Miriam Sibanda.
Mlauzi’s first assignment will be on October 3 when he plays Cameroon in the Olympic qualifier and he said he had already started his preparations.
“We have submitted the team list that is expected to go into camp in preparation for the match. I have watched them [Cameroon] play and they are a good side,” he said.
Mlauzi said Zimbabwe was talented and the country had a very good chance of qualifying for the Olympics.
“We are an extremely talented nation but unfortunately, we have not been able to qualify for any major tournament.We do stand a good chance of qualifying and as a coach, I would like to make history and qualify,” he said.