Coach holds two jobs in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
At Chapungu, Dhlakama is the official head coach, sits on the team’s technical bench and attends post-match press conferences whenever the team plays, or at least when he is available. The Premier Soccer League also lists Dhlakama as the Chapungu gaffer and their books attest to that, according to the PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare.
It’s a real-life football script that even the most revered fiction writers would battle to put it together into a novel. While some local coaches are battling to find a job, Rodwell Dhlakama is allegedly employed by two clubs in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
“He is listed as the 2019 season Chapungu head coach. For further inquiries speak to the Chapungu bosses since he is their employee,” said Bare. Thousands of kilometres from the Chapungu base in Gweru, another club — Matsapha United — in Swaziland, says Dhlakama is officially their head coach.
As is also the case in Zimbabwe, Dhlakama reportedly sits on the Matsapha United technical bench in addition to speaking to sports journalists after games. Just last week, a Swaziland newspaper, The Observer, quoted Dhlakama after Matsapha played a one-all draw against Mbabane Swallows.
“It was an important result for us, as we needed to secure this point ahead of our last match game. I’m very proud of my players for the effort they put in the whole time I was here,” he reportedly said.
According to the newspaper Dhlakama even dreams of better fortunes next season. “Our aim is to build a strong and competitive team for next season. I believe with the right approach we can achieve great things at this team.” How is it possible that Dhlakama can dribble two clubs at the same time?
According to another eSwatini publication — Times of Swaziland — Dhlakama was recently not available when Matsapha United lost 1-2 to Royal Leopard in the Eswatini Bank Cup because his wife was critically ill back in Zimbabwe.
That same day, Sunday 7 April, Chapungu drew 2-2 with Black Rhinos and Dhlakama was in charge of the Air Force of Zimbabwe-owned team. Back in Swaziland, Matsapha United were under the impression that Dhlakama was attending to his ailing spouse. Club public relations officer Bheka Magagula was quoted saying:
“He (Dhlakama) was supposed to have been back yesterday but his wife is not too well at home. We cannot expect him here too soon if his wife’s condition is critical.” Last month, media in Swaziland had already begun questioning why Dhlakama seemed to be conveniently absent for Matsapha United games.
The Zimbabwean league had kicked off and Dhlakama was away “sorting out family issues” when Chapungu beat Bulawayo Chiefs 5-0 in their first game of the season. At Chapungu the coach requested for official leave to “bury his brother’s two kids that were killed during Cyclone Idai”, according to club chairman Doubt Ncube.
“On the occasions that he was not at work, he asked for official leave to attend to family issues. He requested for some time off to bury family members in Chipinge that died during Cyclone Idai.
“He also took some days off to sort out a family issue and again when he fell ill in Shurugwi,” said Ncube.
The Chapungu boss said he would take time to read the Swaziland media reports before the club could act. Matsapha United chairman Sibusiso “Scorpion” Nxumalo was adamant Dhlakama was their coach.
“We have an agreement with the coach. He is our coach and it would be very unethical and unprofessional for a coach to work for two different clubs at the same time,” Nxumalo told B-Metro Sport from Swaziland.