Friday, January 28, 2022

MUKAMBA’S PRAYER FOR DHLAKAMA | The Sunday Mail

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The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

HE is who he is.

Sometimes you have to take what he says with a pinch of salt, as in most instances he has failed to live up to his promises.

He has often been accused of talking the talk and ultimately failing to walk the talk.

Off-the-field shenanigans have blighted his career in the last five years, but he has always found a way back.

And one thing you can’t doubt about him is his right leg, which rarely deceives.

He is Denver Mukamba, and he is who he is.

In October 2017, the Highfield-bred player stunned the nation when he announced that he had turned to God to resurrect his career and cleanse his wishy-washy character.

“I need help and that can only come from God,” Mukamba, who was then at Dynamos, told The Sunday Mail Sport.

“I have realised that I am not a kid anymore; I am a father of two, and when I look at my children, I get this feeling that I will let them down if I continue on this path.

“I have seen a lot now.

“I have been scolded on the streets, with people shouting Denver is finished. It hurts a lot,” a then 24-year-old Mukamba said.

DeMbare were chasing the title and all seemed to be going in the right direction, until the inevitable happened — Mukamba returned to his usual ways.

He started bunking sessions and Dynamos lost the title race to FC Platinum.

The errant player was eventually fired.

He crossed the floor and joined rivals CAPS United in March 2018.

United were then under disciplinarian Lloyd Chitembwe, who thought he had worked his magic as Mukamba painted a picture of a truly changed man in his early days at Makepekepe.

A month later, Mukamba would become the star of the show as his solitary strike sunk Dynamos in a Harare Derby at the National Sports Stadium on April 12, 2018.

“I have moved out of Fio (Highfield) because I want to concentrate.

“Concentration is key now because I want the 2018 Soccer Star of the Year award and a return to the Warriors fold,” Mukamba told The Sunday Mail a few days after that derby.

He had transformed into a darling of the CAPS United faithful, and many believed Chitembwe had finally struck the right chord in as far as dealing with the talented player was concerned.

But, the inevitable happened again.

A few weeks later, he returned to his old habits.

He went AWOL for over a month until his divorce with Makepekepe was finally sealed during the July window.

He re-joined Dynamos in August 2018.

“Circumstances force us (to change clubs) as players. I have a lot to prove and I know that.

“A lot has happened in my career and some people no longer have belief in me and I accept it,” he said after a Dynamos training session in August 2018.

As expected, the reunion did not last long as he left for Chapungu in 2019 where he reunited with Rodwell Dhlakama, who coached the midfielder at junior level.

Dhlakama was appointed Ngezi Platinum Stars coach in December 2019 and a month later he signed Mukamba.

“Expect to see a born-again Denver Mukamba. Brace yourselves… the real Denver Mukamba is back and he means business,” he told The Sunday Mail in December 2020.

Since then, the player has never disappointed.

It seems Dhlakama has a special way of dealing with the star midfielder.

He is one of the best players in the Chibuku Super Cup and has scored five goals, one less than the tournament’s leading scorer and teammate Bruno Mtigo.

“Mhondoro has been a very nice place. Everything is under control and I am happy to be here.

“It always feels nice to play for a very organised team like Ngezi Platinum Stars,” the 28-year-old Mukamba said in an interview in Mhondoro last week.

“I am working very hard, I am staying focused because I am now back in business. Tirikuita zvebasa kuno.

“I am actually happy with my performances as an individual, and also the progress we are making as a team.”

Just when most, if not all the coaches, had given up on him, it was Dhlakama who plucked him out of the woods.

And he is grateful.

“Sometimes a lot of things happen in life, some bad; some nice. In life there are a lot hurdles, a lot of tribulations that I have gone through and to have someone like coach Dhlakama by my side is a blessing,” he said.

“He took me to Chapungu when I was down. He actually plucked me from the woods.

“Now we are together at Ngezi, and my game has improved immensely under him.

“It’s now like I am paying back the faith he showed in me when almost all the people had forsaken me.

“I am praying to God every time, asking him to bless coach Dhlakama.

“Not all people are like him.”

The gaffer has never doubted the player ever since he began coaching him at Under-17 and Under-20 levels.

“I never regarded Denver as an outcast,” he told this publication.

“As a leader you need to set an example and be proactive with disciplinary problems. Players need coaches who are firm and fair, and those who are consistent in terms of handling issues.

“As a coach, you need to be knowledgeable
about your subject to earn respect from the youngsters.

“I was easy to accept Mukamba because he is one of the first crop of players I worked with in the junior national teams.”

The talented midfielder scored a superb free-kick as Ngezi beat Chicken Inn 2-1 in a quarter-final clash at Baobab Stadium last weekend.

“We are doing well in the cup, and it’s good that we have Bruno Mtigo and myself among the top goal scorers.

“I am targeting the Chibuku Super Cup Golden Boot but all the same, I will be happy if Bruno takes it.

“The grand plan is to win the cup and play in the Confederation Cup, where we will have a chance to impress scouts on a bigger stage.”

Ngezi Platinum Stars began their league title assault with a home fixture against Bulawayo City yesterday.

“As Ngezi, we are ready for the title race, we are very focused. We want to achieve a lot as a team,” said Mukamba.

“We have to win the league title and go down in history as the group of players who brought the championship to Mhondoro for the first time.

“People of Mhondoro deserve to be happy, they welcomed us nicely here and we have to pay them back.

“The sponsors of the team have been wonderful. Everything is in order here and for that we have to perform well and repay the funders of the
team.”

Mukamba’s exploits have, however, not been good enough to impress Warriors coach Norman Mapeza, who omitted the midfielder in a 25-man squad that was announced on Thursday for the final two World Cup qualifiers.

He, however, insists he will keep pushing.

“I still look forward to playing for the senior Warriors team. I also want to play at big tournaments like the African Cup of Nations finals.

“Given the chance, I am sure I will deliver the goods,” he said.



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