Expelled BDF XI coach Elijah Chikwanda is already calling for suitors to start looking in his direction. The 2013 Mascom Top 8 winning coach was sent packing by his club on Monday shortly after his side had been stunned 1-0 by rookies Letlapeng on Sunday.
Speaking to BG Sport a day after his sacking this week, Chikwanda expressed gratitude to the army side’s management for the opportunity they had given him as well as for the faith they showed in him when they offered him the chance to coach their club. “I wish them well as they look into the future and endeavor to turn their fortunes around. I am pleased to have been with them, it is so unfortunate that we had to parted ways this soon but that’s the nature of our job,” he said.
Those in the know say Chikwanda’s sacking had long been decided even before the Letlapeng game, with insinuations that the BDF XI management had only been waiting for the right moment to present itself. That moment came in the form of the loss to Letlapeng , which observers close to the club say was aided by the players themselves. Chikwanda, who has publicly revealed that there were problems in the BDF XI camp, did not want to go into details on what could have been the bone of contention within. “In football there are too many issues involved, but I have done my part as a coach. I am a senior and experienced coach - my work is there for all to see,” Chikwanda told BG Sport.
He was however quick to announce his availability, saying he was ready to serve where he may be needed. “I like to develop teams and push them to their set desires. If there is a team which is interested in my services I will consider it,” he said. Chikwanda’s rule at the army side had long been seen by some as having come to an end. Even in his pre-match interviews before the Letlapeng game, it was evident that the Zambian-born was a man no longer in charge of his team, it was just his physical presence. In his interviews he looked depressed, his body language told a story of a man who seemed resigned and feared losing again. Worse still, it showed on the field of play that players could no longer fight for him. After the game he looked isolated and none of the BDF XI officials came close to him.
It had been a BDF XI side which looked dejected and were a shadow of what used to be known about them. Perhaps it should have been Chikwanda’s season to shine after he was not fully credited for winning the Mascom Top 8 last season. Many said he found a club that was already at its peak and looking set to win the cup anyway. Emerging reports say he had lost the dressing room, with player power cited as the driving force. It is reported that some senior players even resorted to faking injuries when they were supposed to pitch up for training or for a game. Chikwanda coached Zamian sides such as Lusaka Dynamos and Green Eagles and in Botswana he surfaced at Nico United whom he turned into a formidable force.
In his first season at Nico he finished in position 5, then in fourth position the second seaon. He finished second to Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the third season and it was during his stint at Nico that players like Gift Moyo and Topo Piet rose to prominence. At press time, speculation was rife that BDF XI could revert to the coach who made way for Chikwanda, Letang Kgengwenyane who had been away on study leave.