LLOYD is one of the most common names in Zimbabwe but Lloyd Chitembwe and Lloyd Mutasa are among the most popular of those Lloyds.
BY MICHAEL KARIATI
Their massive popularity has been built on the strength of being players and later coaches of two of the most popular football teams in the country. Chitembwe for CAPS United and Mutasa for Dynamos.
One of them, however, stands to get more popular than the other should his team prevail in this afternoon’s highly-anticipated Harare derby at the National Sports Stadium.
Chitembwe and Mutasa have the daunting task of making sure that the derby lives up to its billing as one of the top club clashes in African football as for the past 40 years, it has been hyped as one of the biggest derbies on the continent.
It should be noted that the two coaches would not have been going into this battle had their club authorities listened to the demands of their followers.
At one time this season, both CAPS United and Dynamos supporters demanded that Chitembwe and Mutasa be sacked for poor results, but those in power did not give in to the demands.
That, however, is now history as the same supporters who were demanding their sacking and at times, throwing missiles at them, will be fully behind their respective coaches at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
When on the bench, Mutasa puts on blue designer suits — the colour of the team that gave him fame as a player — while Chitembwe loves putting on green track suit bottoms and a green and white T-shirts made from the colours of the green half of Harare.
What is also interesting is the fact that the two coaches have different ways of handling their players.
The soft-spoken Mutasa is a bit diplomatic while 46-year-old Chitembwe is abrasive.
That is not all. During their playing days, Chitembwe and Mutasa featured in midfield for CAPS United and DeMbare as well as for the national team.
Chitembwe played for the Green Machine as a defensive midfielder while Samaita as Mutasa is known, was an attacking linkman for the Glamour Boys.
Although they both played in midfield, there is no need for comparisons on who was the better player as the two assumed far much different roles on the field of play.
Chitembwe’s role was to ensure that CAPS United did not concede goals, while Mutasa’s task was to see to it that Dynamos created as many chances at goal as possible.
That is not the end of it. Chitembwe and Mutasa are both proud holders of three league titles as players of the clubs they are now coaching. Mutasa won the league title with DeMbare in 1994, 1995, and 1997 while Chitembwe picked up his reward as part of Steve Kwashi’s classy Green Machine side of 1996 and later with Charles Mhlauri’s crop of 2004 and 2005.
However, their coaching careers have not taken the same route of success as their playing days.
Although Mutasa has been on a merry-go-round, coaching Sporting Lions, Kiglon, Flame Lilly, Dynamos, WhaWha, FC Platinum and now back at Dynamos, he has no league title to show for all that travelling.
Although Chitembwe cannot count as many years as a coach as Mutasa, he boasts of one league championship won with the Green Machine last year. The former midfield hardman has coached only CAPS United at premiership level, but has also had stints with Starbill and Shabanie Mine when they were playing in Division One.
On that premise, Chitembwe leads Mutasa 1-0 on league titles won as a coach in the premiership.
Mutasa, however, is in a strong position to equal the status quo to one-all, but a defeat against Chitembwe this afternoon could put that dream in danger as Chicken Inn, Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum are also waiting on the wings for the same title.
The two coaches faced each other once last season at the National Sports Stadium, but there was no winner. Mutasa is still trying to figure out what hit him after Chitembwe’s side scored three goals in the last 15 minutes to force a three-all draw after DeMbare had led 3-0.
It should, however, be noted that Mutasa was on the Dynamos bench as assistant to Portuguese mentor Paulo Jorge Silva when Chitembwe’s team overcame Dynamos 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Rufaro Stadium, with Dominic Chungwa grabbing the all-important goal.
It is, however, difficult to give credit to Chitembwe for that win over Mutasa as he was not the man in charge; it was Silva, who was later on sacked by the club following that defeat.
Some, however, would feel pity for Chitembwe that he is going into the Harare Derby after losing some of the vital cogs of his machine. Abbas Amidu is now based in Saudi Arabia and Ronald Chitiyo has since left for Tunisia while Ronald Pfumbidzai is now in South Africa with Bloemfontein Celtic.
Rejuvenated target man Chungwa is also unavailable for today’s fixture due to suspension.
On the other hand, Mutasa has his full complement to look forward to, including the in-form Cameroonian import, Christian Epoupa, as well as on-song Ocean Mushure, Emmanuel Mandiranga and Denver Mukamba.
Whatever the case may be, it would be unfair, if not cruel to the fans should the Harare Derby end in a draw.
To have a story worth telling the next generation, one Lloyd must fall, but the question is: Which one?