Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
PROPHET Water Magaya says his Yadah Stars’ Premiership franchise is not for sale and this year he intends to take a hands-on approach to issues related to the club to try and even fulfil his dream of winning silverware.
There has been frenzied speculation during this off-season that the franchise would be put on the market with a number of clubs, notably relegated Nichrut and Bulawayo City, being possible suitors to take over the slot.
But Magaya, who was disillusioned with the way the club was treated last year he even took a hiatus from bankrolling it leaving that responsibility to his partners, says his love for the club has been rekindled.
He summoned his players into camp during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, with the players and coaching staff only being given off on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, in an early start to preparations for the next season.
The football-mad prophet has also retired some of his most experienced players, and ushered them into coaching, while he is now on the hunt for a number of some exciting teenage stars.
The entire technical staff has also been overhauled with head coach Thomas Ruzive joining Black Rhinos while a new-look coaching team is being assembled.
ON THE WAY OUT . . . Yadah Stars star forward Leeroy Mavunga is likely to leave the Harare side and join a European team this year
Magaya says he will remain the team’s technical director and will be in charge of all coaching matters, including coming up with the blueprint which he wants his team to use for an assault on silverware.
Yadah Stars sailed in relegation waters last season but finished the campaign strongly, including beating one of the championship-chasing teams Ngezi Platinum, and he wants his men to build on that.
The players have been camping at the Yadah Hotel during the Christmas and New Year holidays and Magaya says he wants his men to be in prime shape when the season opens.
“I have heard the speculation that we are going to sell Yadah Stars but that’s not true and we are here to stay and we will be part of the PSL again this year,” he said.
“In fact, while I faced some challenges last year with what l felt was an unfair treatment of my team, leading me to take a back seat of its operations, I can report that I have had a change of heart and revived my commitment to the project.
“A number of players were knocking on my door every day saying they were distraught because they felt I was abandoning them and telling me stories of how we have become a family and how I have managed to transform their lives.
“In the end I could not ignore their pleas for me to reconsider my position and I am back with them and I also felt I needed another crack to realise my dream of winning some silverware because I believe in this mission.
“That is why we have started preparations very early when most of our rivals are having an off-season because we intend to make a difference this time around and make a big impact.”
He said the team was being revived through the addition of some exciting teenage players while the veterans had been pushed into retirement to take up coaching roles.
“We have some experienced players like Brian Mapfumo who have made a great contribution to our cause over the years and shown that age is just a number but we have ushered them into retirement where we will help them pursue coaching courses,” Magaya said.
“We are replacing them with some young and dynamic players, mostly under the ages of 20, and our plan was to work with these boys until the start of the season in August.
“We felt that had the season started in August as initially reported we would have assembled the most potent youthful team the country has ever known given we have scouted from across the nation.
“However, the decision to stick with the March start to the calendar means some of the boys might not be as ready to express themselves and play to their potential and also play the way we want.
“But that doesn’t mean we won’t fight to win matches and I believe we will be a far better team than the one that we fielded in the last campaign.
“Football means a lot to me, it’s my game, and just to see these boys win matches makes my days even when the chips are down and there are some issues plaguing me.
“I have had my issues which have frustrated me, especially the way I felt was a harsh treatment we were getting from the league, but there is a new leadership now and I am sure they will listen when we ask them to consider our plight.”
Magaya said he will remain the team’s technical director.
“In fact, from now onwards I will play a leading role in helping the team in its preparations, its training programmes, the conditioning of the players, the scientific aspects like studying our opponents and how to handle them,” he said.
The prophet also revealed he was resigned to losing star forward Leeroy Mavunga to Europe this year.
“The people who want Leeroy in Europe have been saying he has to come now and l don’t see us having him around for a long time,” he said.
“But we have to ensure he gets a good deal because, when you look at his age and potential, he has a lot to offer to this country in years to come and we need to ensure he gets the right deal.
“He is an amazing young man and the future for him is very bright.”
Source : The Herald