Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
IN a game pregnant with those who believe in the supernatural, there will be some who will claim it’s a powerful force that strikes once every 30 years — CAPS United hammering bitter rivals Dynamos 7-0 in 1987 at Rufaro and Bantu Rovers also getting seven goals in their massacre of Yadah Stars at Luveve on Saturday.
They will, probably, even tell you it only happens in a year that ends with a seven with Makepekepe’s biggest victory over DeMbare coming in the 1987 Africa Day Trophy semi-final battle and helping them, in a big way, to make up for the horror of that 2-6 thrashing at the hands of the Glamour Boys in a Chibuku Trophy semi-final tie at the same venue three years earlier.
And, if you still have time to keep listening to their gospel, they will point out that the seven-goal demolition suffered by Yadah Stars in the City of Kings — which has become a huge talking point on the domestic football scene — was also handed in the year that ends with a seven.
But, whether that is true or not is probably irrelevant here, what matters right now is how Yadah Stars — who were handed a reality check to life in the domestic Premiership by a Bantu Rovers side that, until then had struggled to adjust to the demands of the top-flight league — will react to their humiliation in Bulawayo.
Their next game is a home match against another Bulawayo side, former champions Chicken Inn, who have perfected the art of doing well on the road, while performing horribly at home, with their coach Rahman Gumbo saying it was time to end that rot after a 0-1 defeat at the hands of How Mine at the weekend.
Yesterday, the humbled Yadah Stars players trooped back into a closed training session in Harare, carrying the punishing weight of their massacre that has turned them into the talk of the domestic Premiership, for all the wrong reasons, and has wiped out some of the good work they did in their first half-a-dozen games in which they had only lost once, to serial champions Dynamos, and only conceded twice.
And, the club — which went into their last battle without their coaches after a fall-out between the technical staff and the team owner Prophet Walter Magaya over team selection in their last two matches between Chapungu and DeMbare — have ZIFA on their watch, with the association telling them yesterday that it will not allow a scenario where qualified coaches don’t sit on their bench against Chicken Inn.
‘’The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has noted with concern, the move by Yadah Stars Football Club, to bring the beautiful game of football into disrepute by deliberately breaching Club licensing provisions by engaging in their league assignment against Bantu Rovers on Saturday, 6 May 2017 at Luveve stadium without qualified technical personnel,’’ the Association said in a statement.
‘’The absence of a qualified technical team during a professional league match makes a mockery of top-flight football in Zimbabwe. ZIFA will not stand by and watch Yadah Stars FC dragging football into the abyss.
‘’ZIFA will take corrective measures to deal with this presumptuous disregard of Club licensing dictates. The Association has ordered Yadah Stars FC management to put their house in order and ensure that they have fully qualified personnel manning their technical bench in their next league assignment, as per club licensing requirements.
“ZIFA also reiterates that it is not backing down on the standardisation of coaches’ qualifications since it is a directive taken in compliance with FIFA and CAF Club licensing dictates. This, and other club licensing requirements, will be gradually implemented for the continued development of local football.’’
Yesterday, Magaya, who took responsibility for the huge defeat in Bulawayo, once again chose to focus on the positives rather than the negatives that have been generated by his club’s humbling defeat at Luveve which sparked a social media blitzkrieg as rival fans taunted this football project.
“The boys were back in training today and it was a very, very good session and the body language was good, which is key, because we were looking at that with keen interest and that shows they are ready to put behind the events in Bulawayo and focus on what lies ahead of us, which is the next game against Chicken Inn,’’ said Magaya.
“From the time that game ended on Saturday, when I realised that the players were not to blame and I told them as much, I have been using every opportunity to cheer them, to tell them that they have lost a battle and not the war and such things, while disappointing, can happen even to the very best of football teams and Brazil is an example in that.
“The thrust from us has been to look at the positives, instead of the negatives, and one of the positives is that — for the first time since we started playing in the Premier League — we managed to score more than one goal in a game and that’s an improvement despite all the negative issues that have cropped up after we conceded seven goals.
“And I can tell you that the boys were surprised today when I handed them their winning bonuses, even though they lost that game against Bantu Rovers, because this was my way of telling them that I appreciate, even though they were defeated heavily, they did something that can be taken as an improvement in the analysis by scoring two goals for the first time in one game.
“So, for us, the Saturday chapter has been closed and we are ready to open another one against Chicken Inn and we are confident you guys will be writing some good stuff in the newspapers about our team this time around because we know what we want and I have told you again and again that we are not here to fight for second place and nothing has changed.”