HAS MANDINDA LOST CONTROL?
All is not well at Orapa United.
The Ostriches are a team divided; the wicked whispers quietly emerging from the mining town suggest head coach Madinda Ndlovu has lost the dressing room.
Indeed, the wilder rumours imply the split is so severe that a number of first-team players have conspired together to sabotage Ndlovu, with the ultimate aim of getting him fired.
Members of the squad are said to have faked injuries and even deliberately underperformed in games, such is their desperation to force the Zimbabwean mentor out.
In an exclusive but anonymous interview with Voice Sport, one of the unhappy footballers accused Ndlovu of dividing the squad into his ‘favourites and those he mistreats’.
He claimed the majority of the team were fed up with their coach’s behaviour.
“We no longer want this man, he is petty and can go to an extent of gossiping about other players. He dwells much on off field issues, wanting to know what we are doing and if you are a womaniser or drunkard he will use it against you when selected first 11,” complained the source.
“Orapa is no longer united as a team; we are no longer happy as we used to be,” he continued bitterly.
According to the feisty footballer, Ndlovu’s decision to appoint Tendai Nyumasi as his new captain at the start off the season created a lot of tension in the camp.
“Many believe Tendai was only chosen because he is Madinda’s homeboy and not on merit. Most of the players had wanted Thabang Mosige to continue as captain,” he said.
The source also claimed that money issues had become a pivotal problem at the club.
“Half of the players who renewed their contracts have not been paid their signing on fee as per the contract agreement – so how do you expect us to perform?
“Things have changed, we used to get P300 as a winning bonus after the game and now management has set target that we collect 11 points from five games so this has killed our morale,” he added angrily.
When contacted for a comment, Orapa’s Vice Chairman, Kenny Nkape confirmed the club were experiencing ‘internal matters’ which required ‘serious housekeeping’.
However, he maintained he was not aware of players faking injuries in a bid to sabotage the coach.
“We are not happy with the club performance and we are planning to engage players to hear what might be the cause. About six players are injured which I think affect our results and of course there are some issues I cannot discuss with the press,” Nkape said.
When quizzed on why the club had changed its ‘win bonus’ arrangement, the Vice Chairman replied, “We realised players were misusing the win bonus so we decided to set a target and give them P1, 500 after collecting 11 points from 5 games hoping they can use the money wisely.”
Efforts to get hold of Ndlovu, the man who masterminded Orapa’s 2016 Top 8 triumph, proved futile as his phone rang unanswered at the time of going to press.
Unsurprisingly, Orapa’s off field woes have taken a toll on results.
After an explosive start to the season, winning their first three games, the Ostriches managed just one point from their next four fixtures.
Currently 11 points behind league leaders Township Rollers, Orapa host Black Forest at the Itekeng Stadium at the weekend in what is surely a must-win game if they are to mount a realistic title challenge this season.