Before he could even complete his first season in the Castle larger premier soccer league, Benjani Mwaruwari was fired by the Mhondoro based side Ngezi Platinum on Monday bringing an end to his brief reign at the club.
Assistant coach Takesure Chiragwi will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season assisted by Klifton Kadurira, the club said in a statement.
It’s been a tough test for the ‘Undertaker’ who is a firm beleiver in young players, to balance short term and long-term goals of the team at Ngezi.
Mwaruwari had arrived at Ngezi with a plan and was not about to ride on previous coaches’ toil and enjoy instant success by using the tried and tested players.
While most coaches resort to older and experienced players to safeguard their jobs, Mwaruwari’s approach was different. He did not want to follow the trend of recycling old players which has resulted in stagnation of local football.
Benjani, was understandably building toward the future, he was more focused on the long-term development where he expected the youngsters to seamlessly takeover from the old players in turn securing the foundation of the team for the years to come.
But, it seems the powers that be at Ngezi Platinum did not share the same vision, as they pulled the plug on Mwaruwari after only 13 games, where he had done fairly well, registering three wins, six draws and losing only four times, considering it was his first job and was still finding his rhythm with the new players.
A less patient manager could have decided it was too soon for the academy products and that a more cautious tactical approach was required. He might have tightened up the squad with the same old players, but this ‘short-term’ method would have only lasted for a short period of time before it backfires.
Benji stuck with his plan and only changed in the last couple of games probably due to pressure from the executives who with no doubt prefer instant results and have less worry about the future.
Though it’s never too early to fire anyone if you don’t believe they can do the job long term, but I believe Mwaruwari’s dismissal was over-rushed considering the long term contract he was given at the beginning and the subsequent plans and vision he had for the club.
I do believe there have been extenuating circumstances that hampered Mwaruwari’s efforts to build consistency and cohesion.
The obvious lack of support from the owners and the frustration of senior players due to Mwaruwari ‘s choice of fielding youngsters contributed a lot to his dismissal.
When one door closes another one opens, Mwaruwari is still a good coach and is in the coaching business to stay, he will find his break.