BY FORTUNE MBELE
IT appears they are fated to be together.
Whenever there has been trouble on the mountain ambitious Premier League side Bulawayo Chiefs run to coach Thulani Sibanda for salvation.
And every time he has returned to the club he has always managed to steady the ship and achieve the desired results.
After all Sibanda was Chiefs’ coach when the club was formed in 2012 and it’s him who has always been at the heart of all of the club’s achievements, including winning the ticket to the top flight league in 2013 and also in 2017.
In 2013 the club decided not to join the big league instead opting to sell the franchise to Bantu Rovers.
Sibanda helped the club survive relegation in 2019 having looked destined for the chop at the halfway stage as they finished a point above the relegation zone in 13th place in the 18 team league race.
And so it happened that when the team that invested a lot in quality players in January struggled for results in the recent week, that they ran to the Sibanda who made his third return to the club last week.
Sibanda was brought back to assist coach Nilton Terroso following the sacking of his assistants Mark Mathe and Farai Tawachera.
His return put a stop a two match losing streak following a one-all draw with Ngezi Platinum Stars in Bulawayo last weekend.
The club’s directors and executive secretary Dumisani Mantula Sibanda spoke about their special attachment with Sibanda.
“We have worked with Thulani (Sibanda) before. As a club we know his capabilities. As much as we know the other side of him, he has strength. He is one fellow who puts all in wanting to achieve and at times you should not consider other things that make relationships not work, as permanent. We are growing every day,” Mantula said.
Mantula said they would rather have someone in their structures, who is well-versed with the club’s objectives and knows the players.
“I started working with Thulani when he was 32-years-old. He is also growing and has even acquired more skills along the way. He is not new to our system and not new to our objectives; actually he already knows them.
“When it comes to getting another redeemer, particularly at this juncture; the season has already started, we are already on transit and to bring in someone who will start saying I don’t know half the players or I don’t want three quarters of the players when you have already signed the players.
“Thulani knows more than half of the players if not more than 75% of the players, so it is easier for him to work with him,” the club spokesperson said.
Following the bad spell that got Mathe and Tawachera fired, Mantula explained why Terroso survived the axe when he was the head coach.
“Nilton survived because we still believe we have a lot to gain from him. This is a growing institution. When you are growing there are all sorts of things that you want to learn. He has worked at some other big teams. He has worked with Cardiff in the UK. It’s not all about teaching the boys what needs to be done here and getting the results but is also about changing the system and helping us put in place a system that is going to allow our club to grow to those heights,” he said.
Mathe and Tawachera were fired in Terroso’s absence when he was in Europe to further his studies.
Sibanda is a holder of Scottish C Licence, a Caf B Licence and a sports science and coaching degree from the University of Science and Technology.
Last year in October he was relieved of his duties as head coach and in came Terroso.