THE biggest talking point in Zimbabwean football this past week has been who should replace Kalisto Pasuwa as Warriors coach after Marabhundu’s marriage with the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) finally came to an end on February 28. insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
This followed the expiry of Pasuwa’s one-year contract with Zifa which was not renewed.
Although there are others who believe that it was wrong to show Pasuwa the exit, now that it has happened, it is important for the Zimbabwean football family to look to the future instead of the past.
Granted, Pasuwa gave the nation some exciting moments as the Warriors qualified for the Afica Nations Cup with a game to spare. But just like the Sunday Chidzambwa and Charles Mhlauri eras, that is a phase which has passed.
There are reports Zifa is interested in a foreign coach. However, that has been met with the question of where the football controlling body would get the money to pay that foreign coach.
Debate has also been raging on whether Zimbabwe really needs the foreign coach, or if the country should instead stick to a local coach — three of whom have taken the Warriors to the Africa Cup of Nations finals after countless foreign handlers had failed to achieve such a feat.
One thing that is clear is that the advantages of bringing in a foreign coach seem to be the outweighed by the disadvantages.
That most African countries are in favour of foreign handlers is because they believe that technically advanced and level-headed “sons of the soil” are hard to come by.
The much-touted advantage of an expatriate coach is his assumed superiority and vast experience in terms of football technical matters.
In addition, foreign coach admirers believe an expatriate usually commands respect from both the players and the administrators.
More importantly, a foreign coach is viewed to be “less susceptible” to the factors of bias and favouritism with which local coaches are usually associated when it comes to player selection.
A case in point were the unproven accusations levelled against Pasuwa that he was picking players with links to his manager Gibson Mahachi, who is a player agent.
The same allegations were also raised when Chidzambwa named his final 2004 Nations Cup finals squad, as well as when Mhlauri selected his players for the 2006 journey.
However, Zimbabweans from all walks of life still believe Zimbabwe’s future lies in the hands of a Zimbabwean — whether based in Zimbabwe or currently in a foreign land.
They argue that Zifa does not have the money to pay a foreign coach and many do not want the nation to be dragged back to challenges like the Valinhos payment issue which saw Zimbabwe being banned from participation in the 2018 World Cup.
They argue that Africa is being fed with rejects of European football who are coming to this continent for the money on offer, while the best coaches remain in Europe.
Instead, the names on the fans’ lips are those of former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu, who played in the English Premiership with Coventry City, Highlanders’ Erol Akbay as well as former Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas, now with Amazulu in the South African First Division.
Grobbelaar is currently attached to Canadian United Soccer League (USL) side Ottawa Fury FC and the fact that he applied for a job to become coach of the Flames of Malawi is evidence that he can take up the Warriors job if an offer is extended to him.
As for Ndlovu, he has a good paying job at cash-rich South African club, Mamelodi Sundowns — the reigning African champions. However, there is nothing better than being at home and if guaranteed of his salary, Ndlovu would most likely not turn down the chance of being Warriors coach. After all, the former Sheffield United forward was the Zimbabwe Under-23 coach and Warriors assistant coach before his departure for the “Brazilians”.
There are others who feel that the solution to Zimbabwean coaching crisis is in the country. They believe Highlanders’ Dutch coach Akbay can take charge of the Warriors and take them to the Nations Cup finals in the way Pasuwa did.
After all, they say, Akbay knows the Zimbabwean players well, the environment better, and can demand a reasonable salary.
The nation, however, is eager to know who Zifa will settle for. After all has been said, who do you think should take charge of the Warriors?
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