Zimbabwe: Mawiwi Recalls 35 Days of Hell in Eswatini

11 February 2022

IN Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), their football clubs concentrate so much on physical training unlike Zimbabweans who put more effort on tactics.

That side, they are so much concerned about the physical aspect, there is a lot of running.

That is one of the prominent challenges that I encountered.

I hardly knew the players so I wanted to do more tactical training so that I could know the strengths and weaknesses of the players but the team leadership (at Eswatini's top-flight club Denver Sundowns headed by chief executive Elvis Dube) couldn't afford me that chance.

The chief executive (Dube) said no, don't worry let the players be physical, let them run twice a day and they would run for more than two hours per training session.

So it was quite difficult for me. They (the club) actually had to recruit an assistant coach for me who was helping on the physical training side, the same coach they had fired previously and they had retained him as the team physical coach.

It was quite difficult, I hardly knew the players yet they were just running, such that I wouldn't have time to train tactics.

The number of players that I was made to work with also made my life very difficult. If only I could be afforded to work with say 22 players during the week it would have been better but I was working with about 13 players from which only 10 were registered players.

The other players would just come and management would force me to use them yet they would be out for the rest of the week, some would be at work, some at school.

They didn't want to pay me because they had bought a ticket without even informing me that I was supposed to leave.

But, I was so relaxed because I had refused to sign a contract with them. I was professional enough to refuse because they had changed goalposts. The salaries we had agreed when they called me when I was still here (in Zimbabwe) were not the one on the contract. Even the vehicle they had said they would give me was not there and I wasn't given.

On accommodation, I want to be honest, it was one of the best, it was good but then I have got a home this side so I couldn't be carried away by that. I had gone there to earn a living but it was just difficult. They paid me what we had not agreed on December 30, that is when I had to call the Coaches Association from that side. That is also the day I also called Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association chairman, Bekhimpilo Nyoni, as well as the Zimbabwe Football Association technical director, Wilson Mutekede, who all intervened.

Former Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi was speaking to our Sports Reporter Tadious Manyepo following his early divorce with Eswatini top-flight side Denver Sundowns last month.

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