SOMETIMES local problems simply need a local doctor.
This seems to be true for Chisumbanje-based Green Fuel, who had to seek the services of kinsman Rodwell Dhlakama.
Originally from Chikore Mission in Chipinge, just 50km away from Chisumbanje where he is now working, Green Fuel seem to have gotten the Messiah they needed to survive the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League chop.
Ironically, ‘Sangoma’, a nickname he has carried for the greater part of his life, seems to resonate with the twist of events that took place since he took charge of the team.
Dhlakama got the moniker when he was in Form 1 at Ngezi High School in Mhondoro, after featuring as a “sangoma” in a school drama.
A Sangoma diagnoses, prescribes and often performs rituals to heal a person physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
And this is what Dhlakama simply did with the Chisumbanje side.
The former Monomotapa, ZPC Kariba, Chapungu and Ngezi Platinum Stars gaffer joined Green Fuel in April following the sacking of Bekithemba Ndlovu and Lloyd Mutasa.
Although the league was still in its early stages, the team was already swimming in the red zone after failing to register a win in six outings, which saw the executive changing coaches on three occasions.
The Ethanol Boys had started their campaign with Mutasa, who won the Eastern Region Division One marathon without tasting defeat under Mutasa last season.
After just one game, Ndlovu took over and Mutasa was “elevated” to the technical director’s post. However, Ndlovu also failed to turn the team’s fortunes prompting the club to rope in ‘local kid’ Dhlakama.
“It is a blessing to work in your own community. I feel at home and with the emotional attachment here, it makes the job enjoyable,” said Dhlakama. Having adopted a team which had collected a paltry two points in six matches, he transformed them into a decent outfit.
Green Fuel secured their place in next season’s Premiership despite losing 0-1 to Dynamos last weekend.
“It has been a gradual process; we took baby steps because it is difficult being a new team in the Premiership.
“The team showed character, I am happy with what we have done so far and wish for us to continue that way.”
For those who personally knew the gaffer, his ability to handle the Green Fuel situation did not come as a surprise. The man, who has a reputation for transforming lives, seems to be gifted when it comes to ‘reinventing’ situations.
He does not give up on talented boys who make wrong decisions in their careers such as Last Jesi and Denver Mukamba.
However, where many saw a lost cause, Dhlakama felt otherwise and gave the lad another chance. Fast forward to August this year, Mukamba burst into tears when he met Dhlakama in a league encounter between DeMbare and Green Fuel which the latter went on to win 1-0.
“I was once a teacher. I taught different kinds of learners, so I understand different characters.
“I know sometimes it is a gamble because betrayals and disappointments come, but I find satisfaction in knowing that I will have played my part. I had a tough upbringing and a well-wisher gave me a life and I feel it is now time for me to give back,” said Dhlakama.