But a confident Highlanders coach, Madinda Ndlovu, told The Zimbabwean on Sundays Grace Chirumanzu in a wide-ranging interview last week that an ambitious rebuilding programme he has instituted at the club will see Bosso recapturing their former glory in two years time
Grace Chirumanzu (GC): It has been turbulent times in the Highlanders coaching department with the successive dismissal of coaches Methembe Ndlovu and Rueben Tsengwa. You are in the hot seat now and where would you say your predecessors got it wrong and how are you going to do things differently?
Madinda Ndlovu (MN): I believe things have been so unfortunate with Methembe. One cannot expect to win the league or be successful with players that are not yours. He came at a time when Honor (Gombani) and Vusa (Nyoni) had left. Zimbabwe was going through a very torrid economic phase, remember there was no funds to meet players need. No one can really blame them for what happened. They were hard-hit by the economy.
GC: You are eighth on the log and many soccer fans would say this is very well below par by Highlanders own high standards?
MN: I believe in what we have embarked on, we started the league without much of seasoned players and we are in the process of rebuilding a formidable side to start competing for the championship, next year. Any team goes through this process, we cannot have the same players who played for Highlanders when the club was formed playing.
Despite all the criticism, I am happy with how the boys have since the beginning of the season. They know very well what our goal is and the executive are aware . the goal is a top eight finish, though logically if we are to win the remaining matches we may end up in top four, but that will be a bonus.
GC: Highlanders used to have one of the best youth development programmes in the league but of late there appears to have been a reliance on acquiring experienced players from other teams. Why this apparent change of policy?
MN: Well I think it is all about what the executive believe as individuals and yes you are right to say that Highlanders have produced young talent in the past. I believe in tapping talent from junior players and this is the focus we have to maintain and avoid the high costs of acquiring players from other teams.
GC: Many soccer players never return to help in the development of the game once they quit playing, why is this so?
MN: I think it is a matter of choices. Not all players play football for the same reason, some play for money and others just for the passion of the game. As the saying goes, not every good player makes a good coach. But I strongly feel we will go through a successful time if we can have people who played before impart their knowledge into the development of the game.
GC: Zimbabwean players have not made that much of an impact in the big European leagues compared to West African stars such as Ivory Coasts KoloTure, Didier Drogba, Ghanas Michael Essien and Cameroons Samuel Etoo. In your view, why have local players failed to make it on the big international stage?
MN: The reason is simply because there has not been much of football played in Zimbabwe. You can imagine a Zimbabwean player in Europe trying to compete with a Nigerian who has played so many international games at Under-17 level.
We have very great players here some of them have dominated the South African league but we just do not play enough international matches.
Companies are not doing enough to sponsor the league or maybe its because of our mother body not marketing the game to the corporate world.
GC: If you were to be appointed national team coach, what would be the first thing you would do to ensure revival of fortunes for the Warriors?
MN: Well I do not want to be a national coach because we already have one. But given a chance to advice him I think he seriously needs to study the FIFA calendar and make sure we play every game after thoroughly preparing.
Football is about combinations, it is not about Madinda playing so well at Highlanders and you just throw him into the national team. But sometimes it is not easy; what can a coach do if there is no funding.
Full names: Madinda Ndlovu
D.O.B: 02/ 05/ 1965
Position: Head coach
Previous clubs: Amazulu, Township Rollers (Botswana), Nico United (Botswana).
Current club: HighlandersPost published in: Football