Benjani lands Ngezi job without CAF A coaching licence

The Chronicle

Tadious Manyepo, Harare Bureau
NEW Ngezi Platinum Stars head coach Benjani Mwaruwari could be forced to wait a bit longer before he can be allowed in the dugout as he doesn’t have the requisite CAF A Coaching licence.

The former Warriors captain was unveiled as the head coach by the Mhondoro-based Premiership football club at a function held in the Mashonaland West mining hub yesterday amid renewed optimism the ambitious club can finally find their footing in this season’s championship race.

Mwaruwari’s appointment follows the resignation of Rodwell Dhlakama last month due to an unresolved in-house issue.

The ex-Manchester City striker will be assisted by Bongani Mafu and Takesure Chiragwi, who has been holding fort since the suspension and subsequent resignation of Dhlakama.

Another former Warriors player, Tinashe Nengomasha, who was part of the pioneer group at Zimbabwe’s maiden appearance in the African Cup of Nations in 2004, comes in as the team manager at a club which has poured in substantial resources in the game for the past six years.

Several top-notch coaches had forwarded their applications for the job, including the experienced duo of former Harare City mentor Mark Harrison and ex-How Mine gaffer Kelvin Kaindu.

But Ngezi Platinum, who have seen five different coaches taking turns at the helm in their six years of Premiership life, settled for the much-revered Mwaruwari who is, however, still a green horn in this field.

But there is no doubting the weight and significance of their choice which has sent shockwaves across the local football fraternity.

However, Mwaruwari cannot sit on the bench, at least for now, as he has not yet been waived by ZIFA to coach using UEFA A Licence in the local league.

Our Harare Bureau can reveal that Ngezi Platinum Stars did not apply for the waiver from ZIFA before appointing the former Portsmouth forward.

Acting ZIFA chief executive, Xolisani Gwesela, who was flanked by the association’s technical director Wilson Mutekede, yesterday told our Harare Bureau his office had not received any application from the Mhondoro team.

“I am not commenting on any recent developments in certain clubs but what I can tell you is that we have not yet received any application for a waiver on any coach who intends to work as a head coach for a Premiership team,” said Gwesela.

“Look, our rules and regulations in terms of club licensing requirements state that only coaches with a CAF A licence can be a head coach for a club playing in the Premier Soccer League.

“Exceptions are only given under special circumstances that is after an application is made by the club intending to appoint individuals who do not have the requisite qualification.

“There are special cases in the league which have been addressed but at the moment no team has come forward with any application pertaining to that issue.”

That effectively means Mwaruwari will have to endure some time on the sidelines if his new employers do not act swiftly.

Should the application delay, Ngezi Platinum Stars will face Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve on Sunday without their new boss and depending on the speed in which authorities will run the process, Mwaruwari could miss even more games.

There is even a chance the authorities may turn down the application, especially given the club went ahead and appointed a coach who they know is not qualified, in terms of local requirements, to lead a top-flight team.

“The rules are clear and are there for everyone to see. Club Licensing is a serious matter and as a country we all agreed that no coach without a CAF A Licence is allowed to sit on the bench leading a top-flight team.

“But maybe the good thing is those clubs affected may apply for a waiver and depending on their situation, they can always be allowed to do so.”

When contacted yesterday afternoon, Ngezi Platinum’s secretary-general, Cloete Munjoma, referred our Harare Bureau to the club’s spokesperson, Roberta Katunga, who asked this publication to send their questions in writing.

“Kindly send the questions in writing. I will have to forward them to my superiors and I am not sure when they will be responded to. It’s already past 5pm and try to send the questions in writing,” Katunga said.

Still the situation is not that healthy even if authorities waiver Mwaruwari as he will still not be allowed to lead the team in continental club competitions should Ngezi Platinum win either the league title or the Chibuku Super Cup.

Notwithstanding Zimbabwe’s ban from taking part in international competitions, Mwaruwari will not be allowed to sit on the bench without a CAF A licence.

Two years ago, Dutchman Pieter de Jongh had to leave FC Platinum after CAF made it clear he would not be allowed to lead the Zvishavane club in the CAF Champions league without a CAF A licence.

Nevertheless, Mwaruwari, who yesterday expressed excitement following his appointment as Ngezi Platinum’s head coach, will have to hit the ground running if he is to turn around the fortunes of the club.

Ngezi Platinum have had erratic performances since the departure of Dhlakama and they were humbled by log leaders Chicken Inn at their own home – Baobab – last weekend.

With a tricky assignment against struggling Bulawayo Chiefs away from home, Mwaruwari won’t have any time to waste as he seeks to tune the club into a competitive outfit.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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