Sports / Soccer
Mutuma in last chance saloon
19 Feb 2017 at 09:13hrs | Views
RODRICK MUTUMA is a player of extremes. Either he is brilliant or he is abysmal. There is no in between: just the good and the ugly.
Whilst other players go the artisan way when their artistry fails, compensating for a poor day on the park with hard graft, Mutuma would rather go missing in action.
The head drops, the shoulders slump, and arguments with teammates, opponents and even referees become the order of the day.
One of local football's badly kept secrets is that Mutuma is mentally fragile, easily affected by mind games and prone to losing focus.
Having done business for Dynamos and Caps United, the 28-year old striker – who also had a brief and unsuccessful spell at South African outfit Bloemfontein Celtic – now finds himself at Highlanders.
He might be in last chance saloon.
This is a union of parties that need each other badly.
After years of club-hopping and attracting negative headlines, Mutuma is desperate for a big team that offers him a chance to prove that for all his baggage, he is has what it takes to make a damn good striker.
"This season I want to play football, I want to let my game do the talking," said Mutuma last week.
The striker was offloaded by DeMbare - along with Sydney Linyama, Jacob Muzokomba and Stephen Alimenda - amid accusations of fanning indiscipline and messing up star man Denver Mukamba's head.
Mutuma does not publicly say it but deep down he feels hard done.
"For Roddy, life was always going to be hard with Murape Murape as the assistant coach. That incident when he beat up Murape with a broom strained relations between the two for good and it was evident throughout last season," said a close friend of the striker.
In 2014 Mutuma assaulted Murape, his then captain, as tempers flared on the Dynamos training ground over bonuses.
And when everyone expected the self-proclaimed prince of local football to apologise, Mutuma instead twisted the dagger.
"I don't regret anything about what happened because I didn't start it, he did, he asked for it," a defiant Mutuma reportedly said at the time.
While the player badly needs to resuscitate a career that started with so much promise but has hit turbulence, Bosso are also critically in need of a man who can score goals.
Erol Akbay reckons Mutuma is that man.
The Highlanders coach needed only two training sessions to start waxing lyrical about the striker, vowing to turn him into a serial goal-scorer and Golden Boot winner.
Akbay told The Sunday Mail Sport: "He is a good footballer, not just a striker. Unlike most strikers, he gets very much involved in play and demands that he be part of the game. You can see him going deep to help when the need arise and that makes him a good footballer not just a striker."
Mutuma's conversion rate is far from the stuff of legend; but it could imrpove Bosso's 2016 record of putting away just 10 percent of chances created.
The thinking in the Highlanders is clear: they will create enough chances for Mutuma to score and that will win them matches; goals that will win them titles; goals that will make the Soweto stand sing of a new hero.
Last term Bosso made a storming start but the departure of their go-to man for goals – Bruce Kangwa – for Tanzania suffocated a team that was easy on the eye.
Akbay wants Mutuma to fill that void.
"In the first two days I worked with him, he converted 60 percent of the chances that came his way and in my view that's a good return compared to some of the strikers we had last season who could only manage to convert 10 percent."
But Rodrick Mutuma will always be Rodrick Mutuma. There will be days when the blood rushes to his head. There will be days when he will come through as an ageing prima donna.
Akbay is ready for those days.
"I have heard stories about his behaviour but it's not something that I haven't seen yet so naturally I have not talked about it with him. However, I will sit down with him and tell him to abide by the rules expected of all our players," said the Bosso coach.
Source - sundaynews