Nyikadzino basks in glory

 John Nyikadzino

John Nyikadzino

Lovemore Zigara in Gweru
PREMIERSHIP football finally arrived in the small mining town of Shurugwi following the promotion of Nichrut on a Zifa Central Soccer League ticket.

This follows a 1-0 win over Chrome Stars in Kwekwe; a result which sealed their place in the country’s elite league.

Amid the wild celebrations that continued into the night, the man who had taken the mining community to the “Promised Land”, John Nyikadzino showed little emotion as he was feted like a king by Shurugwi-based football supporters.

He remained humble in glory and instead gave credit to Nichrut president Nicholas Gara, who invested heavily in the project.

“I am happy that the Shurugwi community is finally going to be experiencing Premiership football because it was all hard work from everyone involved. I am also humbled that I am part of this historic moment, which is the work of our club president,” said Nyikadzino.

“You can see the economic environment that we are operating under, but here is a man who managed to bankroll the team and ensured that everything was in place. This made my job easier as the boys were self-motivated and results naturally came.”

Gara, a Shurugwi-based businessman with interests in the mining, hospitality, farming and energy sectors, has put the Shurugwi community on the local football map.

The burly businessman literally gave Nyikadzino a blank cheque to ensure his team was promoted to the PSL and Nyikadzino’s shopping spree was testimony to his desperation for success.

Nyikadzino enlisted the services of players with Premiership experience, among them the former Hwange duo of David Boriwondo and Farai Vimisai, former Highlanders’ striker Jacob Muzokomba, Agrippa Peperere, Asani Nhongo and former Whawha defender, Vimbai Madamombe.

Gara had hired Nyikadzino when he quit as Chapungu coach at the end of the 2016 season.

Nyikadzino, who had been the longest serving coach in the Premiership, had guided the airmen to a 12th place finish in the 16-team league where their stay in the topflight league was only confirmed in the boardroom.

“I accepted the job knowing what was at stake, but you should understand that this is an individual owned club and the dynamics at Chapungu are different, hence I managed to succeed,” Nyikadzino said.

This is the second-time the lanky gaffer has guided a Division One team to the Premiership, having achieved the same feat in 2013 with Chapungu.

In that trailblazing season, Chapungu went on a 23-match unbeaten run and were confirmed champions with five games to play.

“This was the toughest season of the two because up to the midseason stage, we had eight teams still in contention. That the season was decided on the last day with three teams in the running shows it was tough. I am happy we managed to show character especially after a sloppy start and when we seemed to be faltering after the midseason break,” said Nyikadzino.

Nichrut now need to renovate their home ground Peak Mine Stadium if it is to host PSL matches.

Results
Silo United 1-1 Chrome Stars, MSU 3-0 Kwekwe Stars, Ivan Hoe 2-2 Tongogara, Chrome Stars 0-1 Whawha, ZRP Gwanda 3-0 Border Strikers, Blanket Mine 2-1 Whawha, ZPC Munyati 0-0 Vumbachikwe, Gwanda United 0–3 Silo United

CSL final log standings

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts
Nichrut     34    23    7    4    60    13    47    76
Tongogara     34    22    8    4    56    20    36    74
Whawha     34    21    8    5    50    16    34    71
ZPC Munyati     34    16    12    6    44    23    21    60
Ivan Hoe     34    17    8    9    50    28    22    59
Chrome Stars    34    15    11    8    41    25    16    56
MSU     34    13    12    9    41    26    15    51
Blanket Mine    34    12    13    9    32    26    6    49
Vumbachikwe     34    12    12    10    41    41    0    48
TELONE FC     33    11    14    8    31    25    6    47
FC Platinum U19    33    11    10    12    41    34    7    43
Black Eagles     33    10    11    12    29    29    0    41
Makusha     33    11    8    14    43    49    -6    41
ZRP Gwanda     34    11    7    16    41    45    -4    40
Silo United    34    5    10    19    27    53    -26    25
Border Strikers    34    8    5    21    15    57    -42    25
Kwekwe Stars    34    3    6    25    23    79    -56    11
Gwanda United     34    0    4    30    4    80    -76    4
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