Six points behind the log leaders Simba Bhora with four matches to go before the end of the season, Golden Eagles need a Houdini act to snatch the title away from the Shamva based side or less still, they would also need to leapfrog second placed Herentals U20 in the process should Simba Bhora falter.
But where did it all go wrong for Golden Eagles, a club that showed so much promise at the beginning of the season.
Is it because they failed to stand the ‘winds of August’ in which they failed to eliminate their rivals in the title race, conceding late to draw against Simba Bhora at home and then lose to Herentals U20 which saw them lose more ground?
Or the plot was already lost when they decided to let go head coach Joel Luphahla who showed a lot of promise with the team.
Statistics shows that Golden Eagles had an edge over Simba Bhora during the time that Luphahla was in charge of the team and went toe to toe against Herentals U20 until the time he left for Highlanders.
In the first 14 matches under Luphahla, Golden Eagles collected 31 points out of a possible 42 points, with a success rate of 73.81 per cent while under his successor Gilbert Mushangazhike, they played 13 games and attained 23 points out of a possible 39 points with a success rate of 58.97 percent.
The log leaders Simba Bhora had an inferior success rate compared to Golden Eagles when Luphahla was still in charge. In the first 14 games, Simba Bhora attained 30 points out of a possible 42 points and had a success rate of 71.43 percent. And after Luphahla’s departure Simba Bhora gained ground in the next 14 matches, getting 33 points out of a possible 42 points with a success rate of 78.57 percent.
Second placed Herentals U20 which topped the log standings for a greater part of the season, was the only team that was at par with Golden Eagles in terms of success rate during Luphahla’s time.
Herentals U20 had 73.81 success rate same Golden Eagles with 31 points out of a possible 42 points in the first 14 games.
The Students though they have dropped to second position, they have performed better than Golden Eagles in the last 13 games. Out of a possible 39 points, Herentals U20 have accumulated 27 points with a success rate of 69.23 percent compared to Golden Eagles’ 58.97 percent in the last games.
Luphahla’s whose departure saw the waning of Golden Eagles’ fortunes on the field of play, feels his move away from the club affected most players and also felt pity for Mushangazhike as he had to deal with a squad that was assembled by another coach, with a different philosophy.
“The secret for the success during my time was the bond that I had created with the players, those that were playing regularly and those who helped them train week in week out without playing regularly. Nobody felt left out, nobody felt like a replacement,” Luphahla said
“All players were happy because of the way I manage them, that philosophy has made players want to play for me, ask any player that I have coached they will tell you that. When I left, different coaches came in with a different philosophy and obviously there were unhappy bodies there.
“Some of them played from the beginning and when I left some were dropped and it needs a strong mentality to be able to accept such situations. Some players when an old coach leaves, they feel lost and some can be revived so in this case some felt lost and others were revived as the coach can’t please everybody.”
Luphahla feels with more time, Mushangazhike can get the desired results for Golden Eagles next season.
“It was a difficult moment for coach Gidza (Mushangazhike) because he didn’t assemble the team that I left. So for any coach it’s expected to run into such complications because he had to work with the material he didn’t put together.
“I give thumbs up to what he has achieved so far because every coach would want to have his own players for his philosophy to be understood. I’m hoping that next year with more time he can get the desired results because Golden Eagles FC demands only perfection,” added Luphahla.
Ruyamuro Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL) Week 30 Fixtures
Friday 26 August 2022
Golden Valley 0-0 Come Again (Fulltime)
Saturday 27 August 2022
CUMA Academy 14:30 Golden Eagles (Rimuka Stadium)
Herentals 13:00 Chegutu Pirates (Motor Action Sports Club)
Chinhoyi Stars 14:30 Trojan Stars (Chinhoyi Stadium)
Commando Bullets 13:00 Karoi United (Commando Barracks)
Harare City 14:00 Banket United (Rufaro Stadium)
Sunday 28 August 2022
PAM 14:00 Ngezi U19 (Kuwadzana Stadium)
Cam & Motor 14:30 Black Mambas (Rimuka Stadium)
- NRSL Times