Old Hararians coach Munya Mhonda could not hide his delight after his side celebrated a second successive Paramount Garments Northern Rugby League title after beating Old Georgians RFC 32-24 in a hard-fought final at Old Georgians Sports Club on Saturday.
The victory was sweet revenge for Old Hararians after they lost 46-35 to the same opponents in the final of the inaugural edition of the Nedbank Rugby Challenge Cup in March.
Old Hararians has also narrowly lost to their rivals earlier in the season but came right when it mattered most as they led 18-12 at half-time on their way to sealing their second consecutive title.
Mhonda, who has been at the helm of the Green Machine side in the league campaign after taking over from Derek Chiwara attributed the team’s success to hard work by his players.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve been emphasising the word honesty. From myself, players and administrators. We wanted to be honest about our work ethic. So, the players’ execution at training translated to the performance we got during the matches,” Mhonda said.
“It’s a relatively young team that was keen to express themselves on the pitch and once we gelled, we were a well-oiled “Green Machine”. All credit goes to the players putting in the work.”
The league title success was also special for Mhonda, who was part of the Old Boys side which won the domestic championship in 2001 before relocating to Botswana.
The former Prince Edward School student went on to represent Botswana in international rugby a year later, becoming the first Zimbabwean-born player to play and captain the African Leopards, then Africa’s yearly invitational select team as well as skippering his adopted nation between 2009 and 2010.
After his return to Zimbabwe Mhonda had an unsuccessful stint as Zimbabwe Lady Sables head coach but now appears to have struck the right chord with a youthful OH side which appears well poised to dominate the local rugby landscape for years to come.
“Yes, this is my first 1st silverware as coach and I’m happy I’ve managed to do it in my first year at the club. I did win the league with OH in 2001 as a player before I moved to Botswana. So, it’s a great feeling to have retained the championship. I’m happy to have contributed to the ever-evolving “Green Machine”.”
— Old Hararians Rugby (@OHRugbyFC) July 19, 2022