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CHIDZAMBWA STAYS PUT

Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
NEWLY-ELECTED ZIFA president Felton Kamambo has thrown his weight behind Warriors coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa.

Kamambo was elected to the helm of the country’s soccer mother-body on Sunday, dislodging incumbent Philip Chiyangwa.

It was widely believed that Kamambo would fire some staffers who worked under Chiyangwa, including the Warriors technical team led by Chidzambwa.

Chiyangwa fired the then Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa when he became ZIFA president following the ouster of Cuthbert Dube. Pasuwa was, however, recalled after a public outcry.

He couldn’t stay long though, especially after his charges failed to make it beyond the group stages at the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals held in Gabon.

Pasuwa’s contract had some loopholes and was frustrated into resignation as it was reported Chiyangwa didn’t want him on that position.

But Kamambo has since declared that he won’t be taking any prisoners as he focuses his energy on work for the development of the game in the country.

Chidzambwa’s Warriors top Group G of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers with just one match still to be played.

Zimbabwe need to avoid defeat in their final group game at home to Congo Brazaville in March next year.

The AFCON finals to be played in June were initially scheduled to be staged in Cameroon before the West African nation was stripped of the rights to host the bi-annual fiesta after failing to meet agreed logistical CAF deadlines.

And it was always going to be difficult to fire Chidzambwa who made Cosafa history after once again leading his squad to victory in the 2018 edition of the regional tournament.

The competition was staged in Polokwane, South Africa, in July.

Though he took over a squad whose foundation had been built by FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza who took charge of the opening AFCON qualifying game against Liberia at the National Sports Stadium late last year where the Warriors won 3-0, Chidzambwa has proven he is worth his salt.

“I haven’t been elected to lead the Zimbabwe Football Association to do a witch-hunt but rather to help develop our football,” said Kamambo.

“I have made it clear that our immediate task as the newly-elected board is to make sure that the Warriors make it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations finals.

“We are all happy that the team has made significant steps towards that objective. We are happy the team is actually on the cusp of qualifying for the finals.

“Sunday Chidzambwa’s position as Warriors coach won’t be affected by the fact that we are now in charge.

“I would like to put the record straight, we are not on a fault-finding mission. We need to work together with stakeholders for the benefit of football.

“We do appreciate what Chidzambwa and his squad have done. They need everyone’s support for them to go through to the AFCON finals.

“We will have to run around and ensure that they get all the necessary support needed for the team to qualify for the fourth time.

“So what I am basically saying is Chidzambwa is guaranteed of his position as the senior national team’s mentor.”

Kamambo’s board is also likely to heed the ZIFA councillors decision to maintain the March to November football season.

PSL had mooted the idea of shifting the season to an internationally-conforming August to May period.

But stakeholders have expressed reservations on the idea citing the country isn’t ready yet to adopt that stance.

And Kamambo’s board was expected to give its position on the matter.

Said Kamambo: “Football decisions are football decisions and they are made by stakeholders. I think the stakeholders were clear on the issue of the change in calendar of the PSL.

“We are not going to overturn what stakeholders have decided. I think there are some deliberations which will be taken as we go as agreed by the ZIFA councillors.”

Source:The Herald

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