Petros Kausiyo and Grace Chingoma
ZIFA have now set tomorrow as the day the Warriors coach will be officially announced with the association’s board member development John Phiri revealing yesterday that they had been waiting for the High Performance Committee to make final deliberations on the matter.
The identity of the coach, who will take charge of Zimbabwe’s 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, is still to be made official although ZIFA have made a strong hint on elevating national Under-23 gaffer Callisto Pasuwa to that position.
ZIFA have, however, not yet tabled a contract for Pasuwa and it emerged yesterday that such a move would only be made after tomorrow’s meeting of the HPC.
The HPC is a panel of experts led by Phiri and also includes former Warriors coaches Gibson Homela, who is the vice-chairman, Misheck Chidzambwa, ex-ZIFA board member Benedict Moyo, and coaches committee chairman Bhekimpilo Nyoni.
Former Highlanders gaffer Cosmas “Tsano’’ Zulu, ZIFA technical director Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe, the association’s coaches manager Mike Ngore, and veteran coach Charles “Raw Meat’’ Sibanda also sit on the committee.
Phiri insisted that the ZIFA board would only implement the recommendations of the HPC but noted that they had restricted their selection of the coach to locals because of the dire financial situation at the beleaguered association.
“I would not want to say much now for fear of pre-empting the meeting of the HCP where the issue will be fully discussed and finalised.
“I can only announce the national coach and the structures of the national teams after that meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) but I must also make it clear that the national coach is not chosen by the secretariat or the CEO, it is my committee that does that job and we forward the recommendations to the board.
“We have the coaches in place in the country and I will be able to announce our full line-up after that important meeting and I must say the HPC is quite a strong team of experts.
“It is also important to note that our association is broke and we cannot employ anyone from outside,’’ Phiri said.
But the fact that Pasuwa has been tasked with putting together the COSAFA Cup team and to look for backroom staff shows that he is set for the top job.
Pasuwa, who has guided the Young Warriors to a place at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville in September, has also been mandated by ZIFA to choose the side that will represent the country at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa next month.
The former Dynamos coach has, however, been told he would have to limit the number of players he picks from each team as the Premiership programme would continue to run during the COSAFA Cup, scheduled for May 17-30 in South Africa’s North West province.
Pasuwa has had to quickly adjust to a life of having to deal with restrictions in terms of players to choose for national duty after being forced to use a makeshift side in the African Games qualifier against Cameroon.
The 44-year-old coach looks set to meet with the same problem of club versus country when his Young Warriors take on Swaziland in an Under-23 Championships qualifier on May 22, a game which is also the preliminary stage for the 2016 Olympic Games qualification.
Pasuwa yesterday said he had picked a provisional squad for the COSAFA tournament but that looks set to change as he awaits responses from clubs. The coach said he would also engage foreign-based players individually to check on their availability for the tournament.
Pasuwa has already included former Dynamos goalkeeper George Chigova, who is now at SuperSport United in the ABSA Premiership, and former youth international Charlton Mashumba, who has been playing well for Jomo Cosmos in the National First Division. “The foreign-based players will be going for the off season and would need to rest but we will talk to them individually.
“We have been told to have two players per each PSL club so we will have to sit again as the technical team and see what we can do.
“We had chosen the players but we have challenges with the clubs as PSL is not going to postpone matches when COSAFA starts.
“So, in instances, where we wanted more than four players from a club we would have to revise that,” Pasuwa said. With the South African Premiership season ending on May 9, Pasuwa will be able to call upon a number of players from that league but players such as Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila and Kuda Mahachi would still have Nedbank Cup final commitments with Mamelodi Sundowns.
With ZIFA unable to arrange friendly matches before the Warriors’ first Nations Cup assignment against Malawi on June 14, Pasuwa had recommended that the COSAFA Cup be used as the build-up to the continental qualifiers.
Malawi on their part have also decided to use the COSAFA Cup to fine-tune their squad for the Nations Cup and Flames coach Young Chimodzi told cosafa.com that he is taking the tournament seriously as he is using it to prepare for the Nations Cup qualifiers.
“Firstly, it will give us a good chance of preparing well for the other competitions later in the year such as the African Nations Cup qualifiers and the 2016 African Nations Championship preliminary tournament,” said Chimodzi.
“At the same time it is a competition we have always wanted to win. We are very flexible in how we play, we can adapt to different opposition. We have quite a few youngsters in the team who are still learning, but we are proud of having such a good group to work with. “It will be mainly locally-based players going to the tournament, but we might have a few professionals who we think we still need to assess before we get into the other competitions later in the year.
“Our goal is to do well and for a country like Malawi, that must mean going all the way. So we will be going to South Africa to win the championship. That is what we ultimately want to achieve.”
PROVISIONAL WARRIORS SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (SuperSport), Tatenda Munditi (Harare City), Bernard Donovan (How Mine).
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos), Kelvin Moyo (FC Platinum), Ralph Kawondera (Flame Lily), Justice Jangano (Gunners), Douglas Sibanda (Highlanders).
Midfielders: Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Livingstone Genti (FC Platinum), Tinashe Chipunza (Triangle), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba) Ronald Chitiyo (Dynamos), Marshall Mudehwe (FC Platinum), Thomas Magorimbo (ZPC Kariba), Evans Rusike (Hwange).
Strikers: Pritchard Mpelele (Hwange), Edmore Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), Talent Chawapihwa (Harare City), Carlos Rusere (Dynamos), Moses Demera (Flame Lily), Charlton Mashumba (Jomo Cosmos).