Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Reporter

SIX months have passed since Norman Mapeza’s dramatic departure but, should Chippa United retain their South African Premiership status tomorrow, they will need to send the coach a bonus cheque.

At least, as a token of appreciation for the Zimbabwean coach, whose recruitment in October last year could be the only reason the world’s most chaotic football club survive to fight another day in the continent’s richest top-flight league.

Another dance in Supa Diski next season will guarantee, at least, a R2 million monthly injection into the coffers of the Chilli Boys.

Kaitano Tembo

The grant is set to be increased, after the league announced record revenues in excess of R1 billion last November.

“We have reached the R1 billion mark and that augurs well for the clubs as the monthly grants to them will increase next season,’’ league chairman, Irvin Khoza, told their last annual meeting.

“It means it will bring about a new increase on the grants, apart from what has been given to them this season, which was also remarkable.

“So, we’re on a sound footing in terms of the governance of the league, and also the issues around the Multichoice Diski Challenge — there’s a good story developing for the future of this league.”

The bulk of the league’s revenue comes from their various lucrative sponsorship deals, including the R2 billion which SuperSport poured into Supa Diski coffers for a five-year renewal of their deal to screen the league and cup matches.

SuperSport also provide some matches, which are broadcast by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, who pay R72 million per season for the games.

Given the bulk of the revenue comes from the television deals, which ensures clubs receive a healthy monthly grant to enable them to take care of their operational costs, including paying players and supporting staff, it explains the pressure that was exerted on the league to complete their programme.

While established giants like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns have very good revenue streams provided by their corporate partners like Vodacom, the other lightweight clubs, like Chippa United, require the drip-feeding that comes from the monthly grants.

For them, retaining their top-flight league status and the rich pickings that comes from being a member of the league is priceless.

“It’s been tough to run the club with limited funding, but I praise God for helping us to keep this club going,’’ club owner Siviwe “Chippa’’ Mpengesi said in January, when marking 10 years since acquiring the franchise.

“This is not a profit-making business instead it takes a lot from our pockets. I really thank my family for the sacrifices that they have made.”

Chippa United are in 12th place, on 31 points, ahead of the final round of matches tomorrow. A draw for the Chilli Boys, in their final match against Golden Arrows, will be enough to guarantee them another flirtation in Supa Diski, irrespective of what happens elsewhere.

However, a loss might see them being sucked into the play-off, should Baroka, who take on Kaizer Chiefs, and Black leopards, who have a date against Mamelodi Sundowns, win their matches. A loss for Chippa United, coupled with victories for both Baroka and Black Leopards, will see, depending on the results, the team to play in the play-offs being decided by goal difference.

If both Black Leopards and Baroka fail to win, the Chilli Boys will be safe, even if they lose their last game against Golden Arrows.

While Mapeza is no longer part of the Chippa Boys, having quit the club in a huff in March, his contribution, in the event the club survive the chop, will be priceless and will certainly deserve a bonus.

The statistics hammer home that point:

Mapeza has so far contributed 21 of the 31 points in Chippa’s tally, which represents 67.74 percent of the points, which the club have acquired in the league.

With Mapeza in charge, Chippa picked 21 out of 55 points, representing an impressive 60 percent success rate for the club.

The club won six, drew three and lost six of their 15 league matches, with the Chilli Boys scoring 12 goals, and conceding 16, during that run.

Without Mapeza, Chippa have won just one league match, before and after his arrival at the club, representing a 23.8 percent failure rate.

That four different coaches took charge of the club, before and after Mapeza, to just grind one win in 14 league matches, highlights the great work which the Zimbabwean did when he took over the club.

The 14 matches, which the Chilli Boys have played, under other coaches who were not Mapeza, this season, saw them winning just one game, losing six and drawing seven, scoring just five goals and getting 10 points.

That single win came when they beat Baroka 1-0 in a league match on August 22 last month and it’s also important to highlight that Mapeza inspired them to their first win, and also their biggest victory of the season, a 3-0 win over Black Leopards.

Where Chippa scored 12 league goals, in 15 league matches, under Mapeza, they have scored just five goals, in 14 games, under four other different coaches.

Another Zimbabwean coach in Supa Diski, Kaitano Tembo, has also been shining as his SuperSport United moved into third place on the table on Wednesday, after an impressive 4-1 thrashing of Baroka.

Ironically, had Tembo’s men not lost 0-1 to Mapeza’s Chilli Boys, when the two Zimbabwean coaches clashed, SuperSport United would have been just three points behind leaders, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, with just one round of matches left in the marathon.

Had they won that match, this would have meant SuperSport United would have having a better goal difference than Chiefs today and, a victory in their final match tomorrow, coupled with the Amakhosi and Sundowns losing their final games, would have seen Tembo’s men being crowned champions.

Although all the three teams would have ended with the same number of points, SuperSport United would have won the title by virtue of a superior goal difference.