HARARE – How Mine have taken the Catsle Premiership by storm since coach Philani ‘Beefy’ Ncube took over the reins from his namesake Philani Mabhena half through the 2013 season.
Ncube has led the gold miners to the Mbada Diamonds Cup final following some memorable victories over giants Dynamos and CAPS United along the way.
This coming Saturday, Chikurupati will take on city rivals Highlanders in the final of the competition at Barbourfields Stadium, a venue where they have already defeated Bosso twice this season.
The Daily News on Sunday Sports Correspondent, Nash Mukokwayarira (NM) caught up with Ncube (PN) for an in-depth interview to talk about a number of burning issues.
NM: Your feelings about How Mine’s performance in your debut season in the top flight league?
PN: The feeling is great. We are happy with what we have done so far, we hope we will yield more results next season.
NM: Your team How Mine is said to be a small team but you are really punching above your weight?
PN: Well what is small is the name How Mine FC but How Mine FC is not new to football neither is it small.
NM: What has been the secret to How Mine’s success that they have deservedly earned the tag of giant killers?
PN: Well it’s all about determination, dedication, self-belief and wanting to be a true representative of How Mine FC, that has been the key been factors to our success.
NM: What has been your best moment(s) as How Mine coach?
PN: Beating Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United.
NM: Your worst moment?
PN: Losing to Black Rhinos at home in a league match.
NM: In your own opinion can you say the level of Zimbabwean football is going up or down?
PN: With the sponsorship of BancABC, Mbada Diamonds and the Delta Beverages we are going in the right direction, unfortunately it seems only one side is being developed which is the technical department but we are still lagging behind administratively.
NM: As How Mine FC what have been your target(s) for this year and have you achieved them?
PN: It’s the same target as the former coach, that is to survive relegation and I’m very proud that my team managed to achieve that. We will also be happier if we manage to end the season in the top eight and next year our target will be top four.
NM: What are your plans with the team for the next season?
PN: Definitely beef up the squad. Want to win the BancABC Sup8r Cup and we are also targeting the Mbada Diamonds Cup and being in the top four next season.
NM: You are in the final of the Mbada Diamonds Cup in your first season in the PSL, how do you rate your chances?
PN: It’s every coach’s wish to win. We at How Mine we always play with only one mentality that is to win but all I can say is no one is at an advantage the chances are 50-50.
NM: If you happen to win the Mbada Diamonds Cup are you going to the African Safari?
PN: That’s an administrative issue, there are a lot of stake holders to be involved. As a coach I will love to but I think as How Mine we don’t have resources to participate in the African Safari. Look at history, most of the teams that have ventured in Africa are now history, they have been relegated. Teams spend more and at the end of the day they don’t get any rewards instead they make a loss and fail to recover.
NM: You talked about beefing up your squad do you have any targeted players?
PN: Of course I have but I can’t say them now, however I want to boost my strike-force. We have been scoring a single goal in most matches and we have had a torrid time trying to defend a single goal and it’s not healthy for a team. Will beef up every department as you know I have aging defenders and they need that cover.
NM: What about the technical department?
PN: So far so good but chances are there that heads will roll.
NM: Don’t you think it’s wiser to have a big technical team, maybe one for each department and those who analyse from the terraces like how they do it in Europe?
PN: This is Africa my brother people are pushed by their egos. You employ somebody today after two or three games analysing from the terraces they are already after your job. That’s how dangerous the coaches are in Africa and Zimbabwe. You have to work, walk and sleep with people that you trust or else you will be out for good.
NM: What about the officiating in Zimbabwe?
Beefy: I am not qualified to comment on that but I think referees should make their own decisions according to the book, wrong or right but not for their decisions to be influenced by some other people, teams or the so called big officials.
NM: How Mine have been accused of using juju what do you say about that?
PN: When you think juju will work for you use it but I think everyone even an n’anga will talk to God first before giving out muti (herbs). So to me the strongest person is God and it’s in Him I believe. If juju worked I don’t think we would have signed players when the season started. We would have used the players who were in the team that won promotion plus juju then win the league. Now that juju doesn’t work we had to look for quality players, who could compete in the PSL. My brother you can take your boozers team to see the best n’anga you know and get some juju and see if you win the league. If people lose they complain of juju and if they win they boast of being the best. That’s being cry-babies. Teams must work hard at training and stop thinking their big names will play for them. At How Mine we believe in God and we also believe in character, hard work and determination. Let those who want to use juju use it, as long they don’t train, empower themselves technically and tactically and fight hard in the field of play we will always beat them. Bazahlalabekhala! (they will always be cry-babies)
NM: What really happened when CAPS United officials broke into your changing room before the Mabda Diamonds Cup semifinal at the National Sports Stadium?
PN: CAPS were so ambitious they wanted to win this cup at all cost to restore some pride but my brother football is played in the football pitch not anywhere else. On the issue of breaking into our changing room, the How Mine executive has taken over the issue.
NM: Are you going to be with How Mine next season?
PN: I’m hoping to be with How Mine next season and I want to promise people a new look and a well-polished How Mine.
NM: Lastly coach, you have always been saying you are here to prove that you know what you are doing and you are the best coach in the land?
PN: My brother they are some coaches I respect, of course I can’t name them but I fear no one. I only fear the Almighty. I am the real man, Beefy is the man.