HomeSportStix Mtizwa is a man on a mission

Stix Mtizwa is a man on a mission

“IT’S impossible to live without ambitions and I want to win the Division One championship this year, then win the Premier Soccer League next season before taking these youngsters to the [CAF] Champions League in the next two years. That is my aim and I think it’s achievable, but we have to work for that.”

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

Those were the words of local football legend and Black Rhinos coach Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa when his team occupied the top spot at the halfway stage of the Northern Region Division One league last year.

Mtizwa was eventually able to guide his team into the top flight league and not only that, but the newcomers are punching well above their weight in their first season back in the topflight league.

After his team’s mid-week victory and their encounter against Dynamos, Chauya Chipembere temporarily occupied second position with 17 points from seven matches.

In an interview with Sports World, the 58-year-old coach said he is a man on a mission, which is to bring the glory days back to Rhinos.

“This is why I am back at [Black] Rhinos; we have been talking about it through the years. We are pained by the continuous relegation and promotion and we want to make sure that we restore and safeguard the Rhinos legacy, which is to be among the four top teams in Zimbabwe,” Mtizwa said.

“When Rhinos was started, it belonged to that [top four] league so we don’t want to be at the bottom anymore. We don’t want to be relegated this season, we are here to stay and if opportunity comes we are even going for the championship. This is our objective,” he added.

Despite starting off the season with a narrow 1-0 loss away to Ngezi Platinum in Mhondoro, Black Rhinos went on a seven-match unbeaten run which included four wins and two draws.

They also had the best defence in the league, conceding just two goals in seven league matches going into this weekend’s matches.

Former Dynamos defender Sydney Linyama has been majestic in the heart of the Black Rhinos defence, ably assisted by Bruce Homora, Jameson Mukombwe and Farai Banda.

In the centre of the park, Cliff Chatsamba has been impressive, as has been Wonder Kapinda and Lincoln Samaraya.

While the team has done exceptionally well so far this season, Mtizwa is unhappy with one of his team’s departments, the strike force.

“Yes we have done quite well so far but I am not very happy with my strike force. The defence has been extremely good as well as the midfield, and we created numerous chance in games, but our strikers have been letting us down, but we are working on it.

“When strikers like Maronga Nyangela [who is also his assistant] played for Rhinos, they would score four out of five chances created by the team and that is the level we want to reach. Once our strikers reach that level then we can talk about emulating the Black Rhinos class of 1984 which won the league and Cup double in its first season in the league,” he said.

Former Warriors striker Benjamin Marere leads the Rhinos attack, together with Lot Chiwunga and Yamikani Salima.

However, Mtizwa prefers the dark horse tag in the championship race, so far arguing that they have to run away from relegation first before thinking about anything else.

“Winning the league is every coach’s dream so I would be lying if I said I don’t want to win the championship. It’s only that currently we are focusing on running away from relegation first and once we are safe, we can then review our target. But like I said, if an opportunity to win the league comes, we will grab it with both hands,” Mtizwa stated.

Black Rhinos – formed in 1982 – were a force to reckon with in the 80s as they won two league titles in 1984 on their debut league season, as well as in 1987.

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