The Sunday Mail
FROM the beginning of the ceremony, he sat with arms crossed over his chest.
Whether this was out of anxiety, disbelief or bottled excitement, nobody could really tell.
The experience probably felt surreal.
As his name was called out via the public address system in the auditorium, all that Chiragwi could do was lean and whisper into the ear of one of his mentors, Rodwell Dhlakama.
His face soon split into a broad smile as guests gave him a standing ovation.
As he stood and walked to the podium to receive what would be the first major accolade in his coaching career, Chiragwi fought back tears of joy.
“As much as we want to chase our dreams, above everyone, there is God’s way, and God has been preparing me for this,” he said after being crowned Coach of the Year on Friday night.
“I have a lot of respect for senior coaches in the PSL (Premier Soccer League); it has been great competition.
“Competing against the likes of Norman Mapeza, Lloyd Chitembwe, Jairos Tapera, Luke Masomere — I can’t name them all — and come out tops among these great football minds is great motivation for me as a young coach.
“To be honest, I am at a loss for words. Being crowned . . . is a humbling experience,” said Chiragwi.
It was an emotional moment for the young gaffer.
“I want to dedicate this award to my late mother. She was very supportive of me, but unfortunately, she passed away when I was still playing football and she is not here to celebrate with me.”
Chiragwi was appointed interim coach at the platinum miners twice before he was finally handed the substantive position at the start of the season after finishing the 2022 season on a high.
It was a gamble that eventually paid dividends for Ngezi, as they landed their first league championship since joining the top-flight in 2016.
“I think God has always prepared me for this.
“Since joining Ngezi Platinum Stars, I have had good leaders who have groomed me to be here.
“At first, it was Dhlakama, then Mwaruwari,” he said.
“They assisted me a lot and taught me the ropes when I was an assistant coach, and I have stayed at the club with their blessings.
“And to be honest, when those guys parted ways with the club, they always told me to stay, as they saw my future with the club, and I listened to their advice . . .”
Given Ngezi’s ambitions and impatience with coaches, Chiragwi’s appointment came as a huge surprise.
Many thought the young coach would not succeed, but he proved many wrong as he handed Ngezi their first championship in eight years.
“You have to believe in yourself,” he added.
“If you decide to do something, you must have confidence, and it is not easy to make the world understand, but I am really humbled with the trust the club had in me.”
Winning both the championship and being named the best coach in the land came as an early Christmas and birthday present for Chiragwi, who turns 40 on Christmas Eve.
“I cannot ask for more . . . the players and the club have already given me my Christmas and birthday presents.
“I am really happy . . . this is the best present.”