From fan to legend: the meteoric rise of Ishmael, Arenel Movers’ team manager
Welldone Ndlovu, Online writer
Ishmael Mashingaidze’s rise from a die-hard fan to team manager at Arenel Movers FC, is a testament to the power of passion and dedication.
The team was recently promoted to the Castle Lager Premier League, for the first time in its history.
Ishmael developed a love for Arenel Movers in 2012, attending every home match and following them on the road. He began to volunteer with the team, helping out with various tasks.
His commitment and hard work were soon noticed by the team’s management, and he was offered a job as an assistant coach at the end of 2013 season when the team was in the lower division 3. The team’s head coach resigned, and Ishmael was asked to step in as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.
In 2014, Ishmael decided to take his commitment to the team to the next level. He enrolled in a Life Saver course at Red Cross, knowing that his knowledge of first aid could be crucial in helping the team. In addition to his regular coaching duties, Ishmael now acted as the team’s medic, providing first aid and medical support to the players.”
The passionate manager stood with the team from day one he got the job in 2012 and never looked back.
In spite of his own passion and commitment, Ishmael faced the challenge of motivating others who lacked the same drive when they started building up their mission. He also had to contend with a sponsor who did not fully understand the nuances of football, making it difficult for them to acquire resources needed to succeed.
He said: “The biggest obstacles that I faced are lack of passion and love for the game from other members of the technical team when we were starting in Division 3 and also our sponsor did not understand the business part of football, making it difficult for us to get full equipment to conduct trainings”.
In 2018 they got promoted into semi-professional football, Southern Region Division One.
In 2019 they played and avoided relegation, 2020 and 2021 there was disruption caused by Covid-19 and all contact sports were suspended worldwide.
After waiting for two years, In 2022 they finished as runners up in the Southern Region Division One and lost the finals of Wafa Wafa knockout tournament to Hwange FC.
Despite not having formal coaching badges, Ishmael’s commitment to learning and development has seen him achieve a number of qualifications. He has completed both Level 1 and 2 in Sports Management and Generic sport coaching which has helped him to develop his coaching skills.
While he may not have the traditional credentials of a coach, Ishmael’s varied knowledge and experience have made him an invaluable asset to the team.
In 2022, Ishmael had the opportunity to attend a series of coaching workshops sponsored by the Drone Sports Institute and got the chance to network with other coaches and share ideas and experiences.
He advised other technical members that the key to success is unity.
“I advise other technical members of other clubs that unity of purpose is the way to success, ma libambene lisebenze lilenjongo and with passion kuyaphuma kuphela,” said Mashingaidze.
Ishmael is surrounded by a well-oiled technical team, with each member performing their role with efficient precision.
The team comprises;
– Head coach Kudzayi Mhandire (former Ciwu FC coach)
– Assistant Coach Nkosilathi Nkomo (former Ajax Hotspurs coach)
– G/keeper coach Wonderful Peperere (former Highlanders goalie)
– Team Doctor Godfrey Muganiwa.(medical doctor at Mpilo Central Hospital)
– Fitness trainer – Boga Ndebele(former Ajax Hotspurs coach)
– Junior Takavarasha (former Bulawayo Chiefs player).
With just one game left in the season, Ishmael’s team, Arenel, are on the cusp of achieving something truly special. They have already won the league title, but are now in a position to become invincible champions, a feat that has only been achieved by a handful of teams in the history of the sport. With just one more win, they will secure their place in the history of the Southern Region Division One League.