GEM BOYS KEEP EYES ON THE BALL

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

MANICA Diamonds had to do a lot of soul-searching before finding a solution to their problems and turning around their woes into a winning run that has now spun six games.

This is a team that was anchoring the table with a single point, after the opening four games, only a month ago, and now they are sitting jointly at the top with Highlanders.  

The Gem Boys claimed a 2-0 away win over ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga on Saturday.

Jairos Tapera, who had appeared odds-on favourites to be the first coaching casualty, has won the PSL Coach of the Month for April.

Club chairman Masimba Chihowa said they refused to bow to pressure to fire the coach.

“When the season started, it’s true things did not go well for us, but the good thing is we didn’t allow the pressure to force us to act irrationally.

“You see, it doesn’t always work well when you start panicking and throwing everything around the room and pointing fingers at one another.

“At times, it is wise to interrogate the whole system to find out what is the real source of the problem. That is what we did.

“I think some of the players just had a slow start. It’s something that is understandable because these guys were coming from off-season. 

“We also had new guys and they may not have settled well into the coach’s training methods and playing philosophy.”

He added:

“So, we had to work with the coach and the players to get around the problem. We reminded the players of the demands stated in their contracts.

“In business, results are demanded, the same as in sport because there are contracts. Everyone embraced the message positively and I think that is why we are getting the results now.

“We were always behind the coach even when the results were not coming. We supported him in every possible manner. 

“He had given us his programme and we could see where he wanted to go with the team. But because of competition, it is not always easy.

“The fans always want to see the team winning every time. Sometimes they lose patience but there is no better way to progress as a team than to rally the fans behind the project.

“We are glad they never gave up on the team, they also believed just as we did, and we are happy they have been there for us through the good and the bad.”

Fixtures

Saturday:

GreenFuel v ZPC Kariba (GreenFuel Arena), Yadah v CAPS United (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken Inn (Luveve), Simba Bhora v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Wadzanayi),

Sunday:

Manica Diamonds v Bikita Minerals (Sakubva), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), Hwange v Arenel Movers (Colliery), Dynamos v Herentals (Rufaro), TelOne v Chegutu Pirates (Bata)

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