THE most glamourous job in Zimbabwean football is vacant but it’s not turning any heads. Very few coaches are lighting up their eyes at the prospect of being the next Warriors coach. Zifa’s proven record of failing to pay salaries on time as well as provide a conducive working environment are proving to be the biggest turn-offs. Makomborero Mutimukulu Sports Editor
Former coach Kallisto Pasuwa’s struggles with getting paid are well-documented and the soccer governing body will have to move mountains to convince any coach who still has his marbles to get into bed with them.
Taurai Mangwiro’s recent departure from the post of Zifa technical director for the seemingly going-nowhere-task of coaching Triangle speaks volumes about this type of employer. Pasuwa’s departure last week, in normal circumstances, would have triggered a flood of applications but sources at Zifa say only “chancers” have been in touch.
“What we will probably have to do is identify our target and go after them,” said one official. The foreign coach route is a non-starter. The coffers are empty and even if they weren’t, a US$7 000 monthly pay cheque is not a figure that has serious European coaches fight for.
Zifa’s High Perfomance Committee is also understood to be against the idea of hiring a foreign coach, arguing that all of the Warriors’ three Afcon dances were masterminded by local coaches – Sunday Chidzambwa, Charles Mhlauri and Pasuwa in that order. On the local front the best of the lot is attached.
Joey “Mafero” Antipas is tied down at South African side AmaZulu on a two-year contract and any efforts to charm him will have to involve some compensation being paid to Usuthu. Antipas did hint during the week that he would say yes to the right offer.
The other leading candidate, Norman Mapeza, is well paid and stable at FC Platinum and is determined to win a championship for them.
Mapeza had a dance with the Warriors before and there are some who believe he could have taken the team to the Promised Land had Cuthbert Dube and his Zifa board not chosen to play the role of spoiler by appointing Madinda Ndlovu as national team co-coach.
The FC Platinum coach’s name has been mentioned in the Zifa corridors but the former Galatasaray man is said to be uninterested in the Warriors job – at least for the time being. “It’s always like that, other people’s opinion.
“Today its Mapeza, tomorrow Chitembwe and next week it could be Ndiraya,”said Mapeza. Lloyd Chitembwe has done some fine work at Caps United and is probably one of the few coaches whose club will allow him to double up as national team gaffer thanks to the relationship between Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and Makepekepe owner Farai Jere. The 46-year-old – although delighted at being mentioned in connection with the national team job – is coy.
“The Warriors job is a massive job, a massive responsibility and not a small job at all,” he said. “You see, being linked with it gives me confidence that there must be something that we are doing right at Caps that people are recognising.
“But all the same, what excites me at the present moment is the project at Caps United. We are happy to be in this situation and for now I just want to make sure I am also part of the big things that are set to happen at the club.”
A set up that has Chidzambwa as the main man and “a coach for the future” as one of his assistants has also been bandied about.
In the build up to the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, 64-year-old Chidzambwa claimed to be too old for the Warriors job but his story line seems to have changed. “If offered the job I will need to give it a lot of thought before making a decision,” said Chidzambwa. “I value the fact that some people have confidence in my ability as a coach and I can only thank the football fraternity for their appreciation.”