What Chiefs need to attend to in 2024

Malvin Hativagoni

BULAWAYO Chiefs who were consistent in the first three quarters of the season hovering in the top nine of the Castle Lager Premiership race were later let down by a porous defence.

It is one area the club would have to attend to in the off-season and bring worthy additions.

Despite that consistency for most of the season, Amakhosi Amahle eventually finished 13th on the log with 40 points, two better than Black Rhinos who occupied the last relegation place on the log.

The club with the second highest scorer in the league Obriel Chirinda, had internal problems mainly to do with money and change of coaches. That they were able to hold on and survive relegation speaks highly of the value they attach to their careers and resolve to probably use Chiefs to market their careers for better paying clubs.

Obriel Chirinda

But the talking point would be how the defence leaked all year conceding the third highest number of goals in the league.

The defence let in 39 goals and were just better than Yadah and ZPC Kariba who let in 46 and 48 respectively.

Coincidentally both teams survived ahead of bottom of the log Cranborne Bullets with 33 past their goalkeeper, Sheasham 36, Triangle 36 and Black Rhinos 37.

It goes without saying that club boss Lovemore Sibanda will have to go to the market and fish out good defenders to plug holes in his defence. It was the weakest link in the club where he had Herbert Rusawo, Khulekani Dube and Issa Ali.

Inconsistencies by the two put paid to hopes of doing better on the log and qualify for the top eight which in some good years has a tournament.

In defence there was Felix Moyo, Ben Nyahunzvi and captain Malvin Mkolo who in some matches looked a perfect match dealing sad blows to opposition strikers with watertight displays. Other defenders were William Stima and Brian Rusinga who left for Sheasham following their coach Lizwe Sweswe who was one of three coaches to take charge at Chiefs with the other being Joseph Sibindi and Johanisi Nhumwa.

Also putting a shift in defence were Kim Sibanda, Panashe Shoko and Malvin Hativagoni.

Perhaps the frailties at the back were also made bare by a midfield that did not chase back or provide cover and in that department was Mthokozisi Msebe, Mandlenkosi Gasela, Thomas Mudzengerere, Danny Phiri, Last Jesi and Ayanda Ncube.

Danny Phiri

With an average age of 27 it is a young and mobile midfield which ought to have provided enough cover to the defence.

Despite their distant 13th finish in the league, Chiefs found the back of the next 37 times with Chirinda scoring a third of the tally which was the fourth most offensive team in the championship race.

The most offensive team was champions Ngezi Platinum with 45 goals followed by Manica Diamonds with 42.

Youthful Herentals scored 38 leaving Chiefs tied on 37 with Dynamos and FC Platinum.

Highlanders who were fifth behind Ngezi Platinum, Manica, Dynamos and FC Platinum scored a paltry 24 the third lowest scored by a club last year.

Chiefs’ neighbours were only better than Cranborne who scored 16 and Sheasham 23 for the lowest by the club and foreign coach in Baltemar Brito in the history of the Premiership.

Chiefs in order to consider themselves in the race as serious contenders will need replacements for Phiri and Nyahunzvi whose ages are advanced, a central midfielder, right and left wingbacks and an imposing central defender who is good at commanding and arranging his mates to provide cushion to the defence.

With the financial situation at the club what it was this season, players joining the club will be aware that one thing that is guaranteed that they may not get elsewhere is the platform to play and market themselves for tomorrow.

Another issue is perhaps to bring on board partners or investors. 

The quality and will power is there among a majority of the players at the club and additions should be starters not squad players.

Chronicle

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