The Sunday Mail
WITH the battle for Castle Lager Premier Soccer League survival intensifying with each passing week, Black Rhinos coach Saul Chaminuka, whose side is at the bottom of the log table, has now turned to the heavens for assistance.
The widely travelled Chaminuka replaced Stanford “Stix’’ Mtizwa as Rhinos coach but has struggled to wave the kind of magic he showed in 2014, when leading ZPC Kariba to within a point of the championship title.
Instead, Rhinos, with just three wins and six draws from 20 games, anchor the 18-team log table with 15 points.
As they look to face CAPS United today at the two teams’ adopted home — Bata Stadium in Gweru — Chaminuka, a member of the Apostolic sect, said he had turned to God to save the army side.
“Only God knows . . . so, we have put it to Him. We have surrendered our case to Him. We will do our best and leave the rest to Him . . . with God everything is possible,” Chaminuka said. He remains optimistic that Rhinos will fulfil their survival mission.
“We have set targets and we have achieved them. We agreed that there is no permanent situation in life, and that should we unite, one day, we will write a history that we will look back on and always smile for having authored.”
The Rhinos camp has also been on some soul-searching mission, as they struggle to understand how results have escaped them despite playing some good football.
The experienced coach attributes Rhinos’ struggles to inexperience.
The team has a sizeable number of players who are playing Premiership football for the first time.
“The team went through a very bad phase for the greater part of the first half of this season. Further compounding this is the average age of the team.
“It has been very difficult for the majority of our boys, who are in their debut season, to cope with defeat after defeat during the opening week, which turned to months in their very first year in the big boys’ league.
“Nevertheless, I want to thank the boys for their never-say-die attitude, as they kept hanging on.
“They have even surprised me.”
Chaminuka used the mid-season transfer window to make some reinforcements.
He brought in seasoned strikers Evans Katema and Lot Chiunga.
“When the mid-season transfer window opened, we managed to bring in experience in an area where we had our problems (scoring), and the goals have started coming.
“We have been praying and working hard for the whole part of the first half of the season, and the good thing is that we have not stayed far from the pack, hence we are hopeful that if we win a few more games, we are out of the relegation zone.”
Chaminuka is hopeful that Rhinos can now build on their 2-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Bata Stadium last weekend.
“Our win against Chiefs at home last Saturday was a great relief; it has brought lots of confidence. Everyone now knows he can score, and it is a very healthy status for the team,” he said.
Rhinos are praying for back-to-back wins for the first time this season, when they date CAPS United.
“On paper, we play away from home against CAPS United; this is a game for the taking. There is no secret about this one and they know it.
“Our target going forward is that we never lose points at Bata Stadium, our home ground.”