Home / Sports / MERCI ARSENE, BUT A DEFIANT MUTASA KEEPS HANGING ON AT TOXIC DEMBARE

MERCI ARSENE, BUT A DEFIANT MUTASA KEEPS HANGING ON AT TOXIC DEMBARE

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
SOMEHOW fate had to ensure that Lloyd Mutasa’s final game of a three-match ultimatum to save his job came on the very same afternoon that a global football coaching icon, Arsene Wenger, waved goodbye to the Arsenal fans amid a party atmosphere inside the Emirates in London on Sunday.

As if to provide a reminder to the defiant Samaita, who has been a subject of both ridicule and ultimatums in a horror campaign for him and his Glamour Boys in the league this season, that there is a time to come and a time to go in this job.

As if to provide him with a prime example of how this minefield called coaching, where one is as good as his last game, can be very hostile even to those who would have launched a revolution as successful as the one which Wenger undertook at the Gunners since his arrival in October 1996.

As if to remind Mutasa that all good things in our lives as mere mortals inevitably have to come to an end and what only differs is how the ending is scripted – either, like Wenger on Sunday, as the hero whose time to walk away had come, or like in Steve Komphela the previous week, as the villain unwanted by the mob he used to call his fans.

That there were 59 540 fans inside the Emirates on Sunday was, in itself, a cruel irony to this send-off ceremony given that the majority of them had, of late, resorted to boycotting matches at the stadium to protest against Wenger and force him to walk away from the club.

And, after 7 876 days in charge of the Gunners, in which he transformed them into a profitable club that played football with a swagger and, in the process, won three English league championships – including producing a team that completed the season unbeaten – Wenger finally waved goodbye to his home fans.

Fittingly, the final home match of the 1 233 games he has taken charge of, winning 706, drawing 280 and losing 247, had to end the way the first one had become – with a victory and a clean sheet – evoking memories of that 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park when he first took charge of the Gunners in 1996.

A win percentage of 57,3 percent, ironically almost the same as Mutasa’s 56,81 percent, helped Wenger’s Gunners parade the Premiership title three times, win the FA Cup seven times and the Community Shield seven times, while they also reached the final of the UEFA Champions League and ran into a Barcelona starting to run into full throttle in its dominance of Europe.

Now, all that remains is for the 68-year-old Frenchman to complete the formalities of ending his 22-year romance with the English Premiership giants, his home for the last 22 years, and the match against Burnley – his 606th home match in charge – was his final home game, with the club providing him with a guard of honour.

Of course, we now know it wasn’t his decision to call time on his romance with Arsenal, with a year left on his current deal, but the pressure has been building in the past few years as his Gunners – who used to represent both purity and style in English football when they were winning trophies – began to fall off the pace.

While Wenger was bowing out with a bit of style at the Emirates on Sunday, Mutasa’s bid to win a third straight league match, as demanded by his bosses to save his job, ended in defeat at the hands of Harare City at Rufaro on Sunday. Wenger even had time for a glossy farewell note to the fans he was leaving behind.

‘’Thank you for having me for such a long time, but above all, I’m like you – I’m an Arsenal fan,’’ Wenger said in his parting note.

“I will always be an Arsenal fan. It is what unites us in every cell of our body, those dreams and worries. I would like to thank everyone at the club who makes this club so special.

“This group of players has special quality, not only on the pitch, but off it too. Support them this season, because they deserve it.

“I will miss you. Thank you for being such an important part of my life. I hope to see you soon.”

How those who gave Mutasa the three-game ultimatum could have wished for such a parting note from the coach at Rufaro on Sunday.

‘’Thank you for having me for such a long time, but above all, I’m like you – I’m a Dynamos fan. It is what unites us in every cell of our body, those dreams and worries,’’ were the words they hoped would come from Mutasa.

‘’I would like to thank everyone at the club who makes this club so special. This group of players has special quality, not only on the pitch, but off it too. Support them this season, because they deserve it.

“I will miss you. Thank you for being such an important part of my life. I hope to see you soon.”

Mutasa’s success record in the league is now 56.81 percent after winning eight of the 19 matches in his first spell in 2011; drawing six and losing five; winning 11 of the 25 matches he was in charge in 2016; drawing eight and losing six; winning 21 of the 34 matches he took charge of last year, drawing seven and losing six and with two victories in his first 10 matches this season.

The nine points from a possible 30 represents one of the worst starts for DeMbare in a league campaign in recent years and the Glamour Boys are only separated from bottom club Mutare City by three points.

The Glamour Boys have already fallen at the hands of bitter rivals Highlanders and CAPS United in the league.

They are winless against Bosso in the league under Mutasa’s watch, with the Bulawayo giants forcing a goalless draw in the first match at Barbourfields in 2011, while the coach was not in charge for the reverse fixture in Harare.

Mutasa’s DeMbare completed a double over CAPS United in 2011, but the coach was part of the Paulo Jorge Silva backroom staff as the Green Machine beat their rivals in a league match for the first time since 2009 with a 1-0 win at Rufaro in 2016.

The reverse match at the giant stadium saw CAPS United recover from a three-goal deficit in the last five minutes, to force a 3-3 draw.

Last year, CAPS beat Dynamos at Rufaro 1-0 and lost the reverse match 0-2 while on Sunday they won against the old enemy.

Mutasa managerial record at Dynamos:

– League Matches: 88

– Wins: 42

– Draws: 24

– Losses: 22

– Win percentage: 56.81

– No win on the field in the league against Highlanders

– One win in last five in the Harare Derby against CAPS United, failed to score in three of those matches

Source :

The Herald

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