Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
DUSK fell on How Mine head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube who tendered his resignation yesterday morning after a string of poor results.
It seems last Saturday’s 1-2 defeat to FC Platinum was the final blow for the former Njube Sundowns, Chicken Inn and Quelaton coach.
“Philani Ncube has stepped down and in his absence Sheunesu Chaka will be in charge of the team starting with this weekend’s Chibuku Super Cup against Chicken Inn until a substantive coach has been appointed,” said How Mine vice-chairman Alpha Matumbura.
Ncube took over at How Mine last season from Philani Mabhena who had led the side to 24 points out of 18 matches. After 19 rounds of matches, Ncube only managed to amass 23 points, something that piled pressure on the 2009 Premiership Coach of the Year.
During his tenure, Ncube was in charge of 31 league games, 12 of which were played last season managing five wins, four draws and three defeats and in the process picking 19 points from a possible 33.
He then led How Mine to the Mbada Diamonds Cup final where they lost 0-3 to Highlanders but still went on to represent Zimbabwe in the Orange Caf Confederation Cup as Bosso were serving their ban from continental competitions.
It was during their semi-final tie against Caps United at the giant National Sports Stadium that Ncube sparked a storm with questions asked whether How Mine were juju or prayer warriors after burning candles were found in their dressing room.
However, even though some were left with the view that “magical powers” were assisting Ncube, he had proved to be a shrewd tactician as even when his team was failing to post positive results this season, they managed to produce brilliant displays in most of their second halves.
Chikurupati as How Mine are affectionately known, fired warning shots in continental competition, mercilessly crushing Chuoni FC of Zanzibar 4-0 in the first leg of the preliminary round and going on to thump visiting St Michel of Seychelles 5-1 in the first leg of the first round to set a date with Nigeria’s Bayelsa United.
The Nigerians knocked out How Mine in the second round.
When they returned home for the start of the Castle Lager Premiership, How Mine were counted amongst title contenders after going for an unbeaten run of 10 games having lost their opening two matches of the season.
The miners last tasted victory on Week 11 when they beat Buffaloes 2-1 in Mutare getting their goals from Benjamin Marere and Edmore “Digo” Muzanenhamo followed by a goalless draw at home against FC Platinum, then a four-match losing streak to Triangle (away), Highlanders and back-to-back defeats to Black Rhinos.
They went on to play a goalless draw with Highlanders in the reverse fixture before losing at home to Triangle and away to FC Platinum.
Speaking from Harare where he is attending a high level Caf A Coaching course, Ncube said as a coach he was responsible for the outcome of games and saw it proper to let someone take over since positive results were not forthcoming.
“I realised that players were suffering because we were no longer winning and pressure began to pile up. I know that we were going to get it right sooner than later but after some serious thought I saw wisdom in stepping down and let a new broom sweep the room.
“I wish the next coach, the team, management and supporters the best of luck in all the competitions. In football we meet to part and part to meet. For now I will take a break and recharge my batteries,” said Ncube.
Chaka will be in charge of the Chibuku Super Cup first round match against Chicken Inn at Mandava Stadium, Zvishavane on Sunday.
How Mine, as we reported on Tuesday have been in talks with a number of coaches with Buffaloes’ much travelled gaffer Luke Masomere leading the race to take over the hot seat. Mkhuphali Masuku and Lloyd Chitembwe have also been linked with the post.
Meanwhile, Simba Rusike who was Ncube’s assistant has been redeployed to the club’s juniors.