Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
CHICKEN Inn coach Joey Antipas has applied for the Warriors job after getting encouragement from many people, including close family and friends.
Antipas was the team’s interim gaffer and presided over six matches which included the 2022 World Cup qualifying opening matches, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as well as CHAN qualification.
His contract — which was agreed upon following mutual consent between his club Chicken Inn ZIFA — was only for four months and ends on December 31.
ZIFA are now hunting for a full-time coach for the Warriors and have since advertised for the post.
“A lot of people have encouraged me to apply for the job and, so, I have applied,” he said.
Although Antipas is negotiating a fresh contract with his club, which finished second in the Castle Lager Premiership after losing steam towards the end of the marathon, the seasoned coach might be headed for the exit door should he get the Warriors’ job.
“Should l get the job, ZIFA will have to talk to my employers. We are sorting out a new deal. ‘‘But, first things first, we will see what goes on,” said Antipas.
A number of foreign coaches, including former Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay who hails from the Netherlands, Michael Weiss from Germany, Spaniard Manuel Marquez and Serbian Milutin Sredojevic have applied for the Warriors post.
By yesterday it was not clear whether there were any other local coaches who had tendered in their papers, apart from Antipas.
This leaves the Chicken Inn mentor a firm favourite to secure the job should the ZIFA decide to go for an option which is cheaper, and affordable, to them.
However, ZIFA president Felton Kamambo recently told The Herald they were in a position to negotiate for a reasonable package with any coach, foreigners included.
He believes the Warriors were a strong brand which deserves the best.
Kamambo said he believed Antipas had an advantage over others because he has been in this job before.
Yesterday, Chicken Inn secretary-general Tawengwa Hara said Antipas was still their employee whom they had contracted to ZIFA this year through a mutual agreement.
But, the administrator feels the short arrangement they had was not the best for both parties and could have cost them the league title. “If he applies and gets the job that will be another conversation. But it is everyone’s ambition to coach the national team,’’ said Hara.
“And, should they ask again for a fresh arrangement like they did before, there would be a serious talk. You saw how we struggled this season. Our matches, when our coach was on national assignments, were not even postponed and the FIFA calendar was not even respected.
“It cost us the title. We were forced, on many occasions, to use our own resources to have the coach in two places at the same time.
‘‘It was just not healthy for everyone.”
Antipas was forced to leave the Warriors camp on a number of occasions and travel back to fulfil league matches with the Gamecocks.
Another former Warriors coach, Callisto Pasuwa, is likely to be available at the end of this month. His contract with Malawian side Nyasa Big Bullets ends this month with Pasuwa now set to win a SIXTH straight league title at the two clubs he has guided.
He won four straight league championships with Dynamos and last year, in his first season with Nyasa Big Bullets, he led them to the league title. On Sunday, the Bullets moved within one game of their second straight league title, under Pasuwa’s guidance, when they beat Moyale Barracks 1-0.
That gave them a one-point lead over their biggest rivals, Be Forward Wanderers, who kept up the pressure with a 2-1 win away at TN Stars. A victory for Pasuwa and his men in their final game will hand them the league title irrespective of what happens with Be Forward Wanderers’ final game.
Pasuwa has become a master of winning close contests after leading Dynamos to league championship success in 2011 by virtue of a superior goal difference over FC Platinum.
That was the same story in 2012 and 2013 when DeMbare beat Highlanders to the title because of a superior goal difference.
In his final season at the Gamour Boys, Pasuwa’s men won the title courtesy of a one-point advantage over ZPC Kariba.
Meanwhile, ZIFA have set the dates for the camps of the national women’s football teams, the Under-20 and the Under-17 that will participate in the World Cup qualifiers early next year.
The Under-17 team begin preparations on December 27, ahead of an away preliminary tie against Botswana between January 10 and 12. They host the neighbours between January 24 and 26.
The Under-20 team will have to cut short their holidays and troop into camp on January 2. The Young Mighty Warriors face Malawi in the World Cup preliminary round which has been set for 17 to 19 January.
The return leg is set for January 31 to February 2. ZIFA have called on stakeholders to partner the association in funding the girl child.
“ZIFA places great value in ensuring that developmental teams participate in all matches that are provided by the world, continental and regional governing bodies.
“We call upon all stakeholders to take this great opportunity to partner the association in creating a lasting football legacy,” said the statement from the association.