Zimbabwe: Herentals Battle Second Season Syndrome

23 September 2019

Herentals remain the only team in the bottom six of the Castle Lager Premiership football league not to have replaced their coach this season and look unlikely to do so despite genuine fears they could end up being demoted.

For club owner and striker Innocent Benza, coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva is the best man for the job as he understands the club's philosophy well.

Yet, the team is sitting precariously on third from bottom with just six points separating them and basement side Yadah.

For a team which was a marvel to watch in their maiden top-flight season last year to have fallen so low should have been a cause for worry given their current poor form but Benza has insisted the team is safe under Mutiwekuziva.

"Of course we are very much aware of second season syndromes. It's real and affect a lot of teams around the world but we are very different.

"Last year we did extremely well for a team in their first season finishing the race on 6th place.

"And whatever the factors which combine to haunt a team in their second season seem to have also affected us," said Benza.

"But what I can say as the club director is that the coach's job is well secure. He (Mutiwekuziva) is very safe. In fact, he is one of the best coaches around and the fact that he understands our club's philosophy, being one of its proponents makes him almost untouchable.

"He has the full support of the club's executive."

Benza expressed confidence his team will survive the chop come end of the marathon.

"As players, we are aware of the position which we find ourselves in. We are challenging ourselves as the playing staff to up our game. We have been working very hard at training trying to improve on areas where we haven't done very well."

The team's defence, which was the second best after champions FC Platinum's last season, has been their Achilles Heel this term.

They have conceded an average of a goal per match in the 22 encounters they have played.

Herentals face Chicken Inn in a rescheduled tie at Luveve on Wednesday and they have a chance to leapfrog from the mire if they manage to pick the maximum points.

"Chicken Inn are a massive team. They are enjoying their season and they will obviously be out to pick yet another win. But we know our situation and can't afford to drop points anymore. We will be hunting for the full points though we know it will be difficult," said Benza.

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