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Mangwiro covets Mapeza’s success

TRIANGLE coach Taurai Mangwiro should be basking in the Chibuku Cup glory as well as guiding his team to an impressive fourth place in the Premier Soccer league, but he is not.

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

And bringing CAF Confederation Cup football to the Chiredzi community is no mean feat, but Mangwiro is bothered when he looks into his trophy cabinet and sees just two trophies.None of the two is a league title.

It’s all that he has to show for the 12 years that he has spent as a football coach in the country. Instead, he is green with envy when he peeps into the achievements of league champions FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza simply because their careers began about the same time. Mapeza won his third league title this season.

Two years back, Mangwiro, one of the most qualified coaches in Zimbabwe, left his job as Zifa technical director to return to club coaching. His only target was to win the league title. “I yearn to win the league. That is the ultimate goal for me. When I look at Norman (Mapeza), we started coaching at about the same time, but look at the kind of ground he has covered,” Mangwiro told The Sports Hub.

“The other colleagues have also landed the ‘big one’ and it has proved elusive for me, but I get a lot of encouragement from what I got this season at Triangle and I will not despair. I believe there is always a first for everything and we need to keep pushing and hope that one of these days, it will be Mangwiro winning the ‘big one’,” said the Triangle coach.

Mangwiro and his men took four points from the champions winning at Gibbo and playing nil- all draw in Zvishavane, yet they finished 22 points behind the champions. “To be honest, I haven’t won as many accolades as I would have wanted. I got into the premiership some 12 years back when Luke Masomere introduced me to it as an assistant at Masvingo United.

“Since then I have worked at Monomotapa, CAPS United, Harare City and now Triangle. I have had third-place finishes with the other teams and this time we also had another chance for a third-place finish, which we spurned in the last game, when we couldn’t clear the Chicken Inn hurdle,” Mangwiro said.

But Mangwiro remains the only coach to have won the Chibuku Cup twice having won it at its reintroduction in 2014. He won his first silverware in 2015 when he was Harare City head coach, before scooping it again this season with Triangle. What is more impressive is how Mangwiro managed to turn relegation strugglers into a formidable side and cup champions in a space of two years.

“The secret has been hard work and in football there are no shortcuts to success. One has to work really hard, exercise patience and consult a lot because I don’t believe that there is one person who can say they know everything in football.

“At Triangle the environment has been so conducive that we have had opportunities to interact and make decisions collectively. It’s only that people do not know the kind of good work my colleagues behind the scenes put in. These are the guys I feel deserve a lot of respect for the kind of work that they did,” he said.

Leaving Zifa, Mangwiro felt that he still had some unfinished business as a coach. He hoped to have an immediate impact at Triangle last season, but it was not to be.

“I didn’t make the kind of impact that I thought I would make because we finished ninth. However, the leadership was happy with what they saw because in the past Triangle was always fighting relegation. Last season with five games we had already secured our status in the premier league so there was light at the end of the tunnel, but it was not the kind of impression that I felt I would make.

“But this time around there is tremendous progress from the team — look at the number of wins we posted this season. Where we had 11 wins last season, this time we had 17 and last season we won only once on the road, this time we won six times,” he said.

In line with the season’s target, Triangle managed to have two players on the Soccer Stars calendar, with Lameck Nhamo and Phineas Bamusi making the list.

“When we started this season we did spell out to the players our ambitions and among them was to have our players making the Soccer Stars calendar, getting national team call-ups and attracting lucrative deals to better leagues.

“I would say the objectives have been achieved. Now let’s look forward to us doing well in the continental competition, but also we need to rejoice in having won the cup,” Mangwiro said.

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