WARRIORS interim coach, Sunday Chidzambwa has revealed that he was pressured to take up the post to lead the national football team in the Cosafa tournament in the face of his initial reluctance.
BY HENRY MHARA IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The veteran coach was appointed to take charge of the Warriors for the regional tournament, which ended in South Africa at the weekend, leading the team to victory, for the country’s record fifth Cosafa title.
In his review of the tournament, the ZPC Kariba coach, who is a member of the Zifa high performance committee, which among other duties recommends names for national team posts, revealed that his colleagues pressured him to take the team to South Africa.
This was after Norman Mapeza, who is in charge of the Warriors for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, had excused himself.
When he was asked if he would like to coach the team at the next Cosafa edition next year given his good fortune in the tournament, Chidzambwa said: “That question is not for me to answer, you can direct it to the football association. I cannot employ myself.”
For Chidzambwa, the 3-1 final win over Zambia at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Sunday, meant he became the most successful coach in the tournament, with three gold medals.
He has taken charge of the Warriors in three editions of the tourney, where he is unbeaten in 15 games, winning 13 and drawing three times.
Zimbabwe were by far the best team at the tournament, scoring an incredible 19 goals with skipper, Ovidy Karuru netting six, to win the Golden Boot Award and setting a record for scoring the most goals in the tournament.
Knox Mutizwa, voted the Player of the Tournament, finished with five goals, while team co-captain, Ocean Mushure weighed in with four goals.
Chidzambwa has been rewarded for leading the team with an appointment to take charge of the Warriors’ Championship of African Nations (Chan) qualifiers, which start this weekend when Zimbabwe travel to Namibia.
Reports had suggested that Rahman Gumbo would take charge of the Chan squad, but Zifa yesterday announced that Chidzambwa and his technical team, comprising of his assistants, Lloyd Mutasa and Bongani Mafu, and manager, Wellington Mupandare, will carry on, a clear thumbs-up for their Cosafa victory.
“We felt that continuity was integral in this cause as this creates a strong bond between the players and the technical team,” Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa said in a statement.
“This technical team has made us and the nation proud by winning a historic fifth Cosafa Castle Cup and we have made a decision that they (technical team) will take charge of the 2018 Chan qualifiers to ensure that we qualify for the finals in Kenya.
“There is a lot of potential in both the technical team and the players going forward and we saw no reason to disturb this momentum. We are happy with the work they are doing and as we head to Namibia, we wish them success again.
“On our part, as Zifa, we will strive to provide a smooth working environment to ensure continued success of all national teams and we remain indebted to ZPC Kariba and Dynamos for letting us have their coaches during the course of the season.”
Chidzambwa, arguably the best coach the country has produced, was in charge of the team that qualified for the inaugural edition of the Chan, a tournament reserved for players plying their trade in their native countries.
Of the players that played at Cosafa, Karuru, Mtizwa, goalkeeper, George Chigova, Eric Chipeta, and Mitchell Katsvairo are ineligible for selection for the Chan squad. The victorious Warriors squad was expected back home last night.