ZIFA in New Coach Dilemma

ZIFA faces a tough task as they ponder the identity of the new substantive coach to guide the Warriors from next year. The association’s development and technical committee is expected to meet in the coming weeks to review the events of the year.

Sunday Chidzambwa quit the job and was replaced by Joey Antipas on an interim basis.

The committee, led by former referee Bryton Malandule, will report their findings to the ZIFA board which, in turn, will decide on the way forward.

Antipas’ contract runs until December 31 this year, but his mandate virtually ended with the Warriors’ 2-1 win in Zambia this week.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo promised earlier in the year that there will be a substantive coach for the Warriors by January 2020.

“We have said that Antipas is our interim coach until December 31st. On the first of January, we should have a substantive coach,’’ he said.

“Anyone is free to apply. It can be a local coach or a foreign coach.

“It can be Antipas because, from my personal point of view, he is there already and he has an advantage compared to the other candidates.

“So, anyone who makes the grade after the interviews will be appointed regardless of whether he is foreign or local.”

And the ball is now back in ZIFA’s court as the Warriors face a packed 2020 calendar, which will see them compete at the CHAN finals in Cameroon, the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Antipas, Norman Mapeza, who is now coaching  in South Africa, Callisto Pasuwa, currently at Nyasa Big Bullets in Malawi, unattached Bongani Mafu, Harare City’s Lloyd Chitembwe, Rahman Gumbo of TelOne and Under-23 coach Tonderai Ndiraya, are some of the probable candidates.

ZIFA may also want to look at the coaches leading the country’s top five Premiership teams, apart from Antipas and Ndiraya.

This would leave them considering CAPS United’s Darlington Dodo, Lizwe Sweswe of FC Platinum and Godfrey Tamirepi of ZPC Kariba.

But do these coaches have the credentials to lead the senior national team?

It’s not likely.

Oh, by the way, there’s also the legendary Moses “Bambo” Chunga, who is clubless at the moment. But the former Zimbabwe international has now reduced himself into someone who coaches young players at his academy and is unlikely to throw his hat into the ring.

Then there is legendary ex-Zimbabwe goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who has in the past offered to help the national team. Italian Roberto Landi has also been linked with the national team job despite clear indications he is on his way to giants CAPS United.

There is an option to go back to Mapeza, who turns out to be most of the fans’ favourite.

But the ex-Zimbabwe international is currently engaged by South Africa’s Chippa United. His future at the struggling club may not be guaranteed, but the former Warriors coach does not also seem keen for a relationship with ZIFA.

After all, he has said he wants the association to settle what they owe him first before they can plunge into talks.

Pasuwa, who guided the Warriors to their third appearance at the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon, has a contract with Malawi’s Nyasa Bullets.

It runs out in December.

However, just like Mapeza, Pasuwa is also owed a substantial amount of money by ZIFA and that has to be cleared first.

ZIFA have indicated they will cast the net wider.

But going all the way to bring Grobbelaar back home from Canada could be beyond them. Moreover, the 62-year-old has not been coaching at the highest level for quite sometime now.

In truth, ZIFA have limited options, considering their weak financial position, and the legacy debt that keeps hovering over their heads.

But if ZIFA cannot afford a foreign coach, why not try Kaitano Tembo, who has proved himself in the Absa Premiership with South Africa’ Supersport United?

However, it’s unlikely Kaitano can choose to return home and work at ZIFA after two decades working at a proper professional set-up.

ZIFA’s coffers remain the Achilles Heel.

“It has been tough for the association, considering the legacy debt which we inherited, making it difficult to operate normally,” he said.

So, it appears, a foreign coach could be out of the picture for now.


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