Rift in ZPC Kariba camp
GOING into the last five games of the season, tempers have flared in the camp of Premier Soccer League championship contenders, ZPC Kariba, amid reports of a serious rift between chairman, Munyaradzi Nduna and the rest of his troops over the welfare of players. It could be the biggest undoing for the Castle Lager Premiership newcomers, who have displayed an extraordinary pedigree to take on seasoned campaigners, toppling giants of Zimbabwean football and upsetting opponents who have underrated Kauya Katuruturu, as ZPC Kariba is affectionately known in the resort town over 300 kilometres North West of Harare.
Nduna is in the eye of the storm, authoritative sources indicated. Opinion was split on where the team would camp ahead of ZPC’s crunch match against Triangle last week, where they went on to clobber the sugar cane processors 1-0, displaying the power generators’ ability to endure even during times of intense disagreements. But commentators fear if these troubles persist, ZPC Kariba’s dramatic premiership challenge could hit a brick wall.
The Financial Gazette Sport can exclusively reveal that ZESA Holdings, the club’s main sponsors decided to book the team at Jameson Hotel, the three star facility at the heart of Harare, to bolster players’ moral at a crunch time in their championship campaign. But inside sources say Nduna, had other caustic ideas, insisting on taking the team to the ZIFA Village in Mt Hampden, where players faced the prospects of sleeping on the floor after the Deputy Sherriff had attached the Zimbabwe Football Association’s property at the Village over a debt.
Among the attached assets were beds. Sources in the ZPC camp said the technical team feared this could demotivate the players before their unpredictable encounter with Triangle. Coach, Saul Chaminuka, has even warned that Triangle was not an easy team. The disagreements sparked a standoff, with the rest of the team refusing to budge. “Nduna was not amused, prompting him to react angrily, kicking everything in his path out of frustration on his way out to stay at a different place,” a source close to the development at ZPC Kariba noted.
Nduna refused to comment on the development, referring the Financial Gazette Sport to club spokesperson, Fadzai Chisveto. Chisveto could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print. But ZESA Holdings acting spokesperson, Shepherd Mandizvidza, on Monday said players’ welfare was at the heart of the entire institution as efforts to eclipse log leaders Dynamos and take the championship trophy to the northern border town gathered momentum.
“ZPC Football Club is a super-brand as testified by its electrifying performance in the Premier Soccer League. It is only proper that they stay at environs that befit a football circuit of honour. Our choice of their stay at Jameson hotel was not coincidental but a well thought out decision by administrators in stable state of minds. We wish them well as we approach the end of the season.”
Gwenya rekuchamhembe (Kariba South hydro power station), as ZPC are also known, beat Triangle 1-0 at Gwanzura Stadium on Saturday with Pride Tafirenyika scoring in the first half. The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League debutants, with 47 points from 25 games, are now two points adrift of log leaders Dynamos. But they remain in a promising position to lift the championship title in their debut season. This is not the first time the ZPC camp has been rocked by accommodation problems. There was an outcry after the team allegedly booked the championship gunning celebrities in groups of four per room at a lodge in Triangle in May, according to sources close to ZPC Kariba.
However, it went on to win the match 5-1, courtesy of goals from Limited Chikafa, Pride Tafirenyika, Obey Mwerahari and a double from Raphael Manuvire.
Triangle had raced into the lead through Courage Denias. However, no official could be reached to confirm or deny these allegations.