Inside sport: Names thrown around for coaching job

THE job of Zimbabwe national soccer team coach is dominating debate whenever Zimbabwean football is being discussed not only in the country but also outside our borders.

Everywhere in this country and in some parts of the world, the story is about who will take over the demanding job of the Warriors as Zimbabwe makes a return to international football.

Even in England, sports journalist Admire Muhimeke reports that Zimbabwean players based in that country are anxious to know who will be the pilot of the Warriors plane.

“There are a lot of Zimbabweans here including current and former players and they are excited about Zimbabwe’s return to international football. But they are worried about whether the right choice of coach will be made” says Muhimeke.

Back home, though, names of some coaches who have had an association with the Warriors before are also being linked with a possible return and plotting the downfall of Benin, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa in the 2026 World Cup adventure.

What is abundantly clear from the debate and discussions that have been going on is that Zimbabweans are — in the meantime — in favour of a local coach rather than a foreigner taking over their favourite team.

Names such as Bruce Grobbelaar, Kalisto Pasuwa, Benjani Mwaruwari, Charles Mhlauri, Joey Antipas, and Norman Mapeza, are being thrown around as possible candidates for the job.

Others have suggested that Zimbabwe should persuade Sunday Chidzambwa to come out of retirement and take over as technical adviser to whoever the coach would be.

Chidzambwa is widely regarded as the most successful coach in Zimbabwean football history after taking Zimbabwe to two Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2004 and 2019.

He also won four Cosafa Cup titles with the southern African country, those coming in 2003, 2009, 2017 and 2018, on top of leading Dynamos to the final of the 1998 Caf Champions League.

However, there are others who feel that Zimbabwe needs fresh inspiration in the form of Kaitano Tembo who has had coaching stints at South African clubs Supersport and Sekhukhune.

Tembo is the coach of South African Premiership side Richards Bay following his appointment on July 7, 2023, but would be willing to come to Zimbabwe considering the order that has returned to Zimbabwean football.

The ball, though, is in the court of the normalisation committee who are making extensive consultations before coming up with whom they think would be the best man for the job.

The general feeling, however, is that jobs for the national team technical set up should be advertised with a well spelt out criteria for consideration and a panel to pick out the best applicant or applicants.

This, observers, point out should not be confined to the Warriors alone but also down to the Mighty Warriors and the Young Warriors as hand picking has proved to have its own problems.

With finances now available, it has also been suggested that the national team coach should be a full time employee of Zifa rather than one who is also employed elsewhere as this causes distractions.

Surely, the foundation from where to build a strong Warriors is there in the form of Marshall Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Jordan Zemura, Isaac Mabaya, Tino Kadewere, and Tawanda Masvanhise, and the bricks and cement are there in the form of hundreds of Zimbabwean footballers scattered all over the globe.

Team manager Wellington Mpandare has so far been splendid in cementing relationships among the players themselves. Mpandare himself has built a brotherly relationship with the players — both those at home, and those abroad.

It would be cruel to remove Mpandare from his position in the wake of what he has done for the Warriors and the sound relationship that exists between him and most of the players.

What is only required is a good builder in the form of the coach and his ‘dhaka boys’ to erect a strong Warriors House.

-The Standard

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