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History-making Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa has laughed off suggestions that he is dumping the national team job barely two months after agreeing a deal to take charge of the team.
Chidzambwa agreed to an initial one-year contract with ZIFA, with the mandate to guide the Warriors to possible qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
The veteran coach said he had been surprised by spurious claims that he was set to leave his job and pursue a career outside the country’s borders.
Chidzambwa dismissed the reports as fraudulent claims, “which are not factual and based on someone’s imagination”.
“I am actually surprised by all this. In fact, I first heard of it when my son phoned me telling me that he had read that I was going to coach out of the country and there is no truth whatsoever in those reports,” said Chidzambwa.
“It’s very irresponsible and mischievous for someone to fabricate news. I have not met with anyone at ZIFA to change the position that we agreed about the national team and I have already submitted my programme for the Warriors because I am not going anywhere.”
Chidzambwa took over as the first substantive coach of the Warriors, nine months after Callisto Pasuwa’s reign ended with Zimbabwe’s poor run at the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon.
ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda also dismissed as frivolous, suggestions that his association had set their sights on appointing a foreign coach for the Warriors.
Sibanda insisted that ZIFA, cognisant of the importance of qualifying for the Nations Cup jamboree, had never mooted an idea of appointing an inexperienced Warriors coach, whether foreign or local.
“I want to categorically state that we have never interviewed any foreign coach since we came into office,” said Sibanda, who is in charge of the Warriors coaching portfolio.
“We do not have any intention to hire a foreign coach now or in the near future because as far as we are concerned, we are very happy with Sunday Chidzambwa.”
Sibanda said ZIFA had appointed interim coaches while weighing their options before settling for Chidzambwa.
The veteran coach had also earlier worked on a caretaker basis, winning Zimbabwe’s record fifth COSAFA Castle Cup title with the Warriors in South Africa last July.
Before Chidzambwa took charge, the Warriors had also been under the caretaker supervision of Norman Mapeza, with the FC Platinum gaffer guiding them to a convincing 3-0 win over Liberia in their opening 2019 Nations Cup qualifier at the National Sports Stadium.
ZIFA technical director Wilson Mutekede also presided over back-to-back international friendly matches away against Lesotho and Namibia as the association’s leadership took their time to zero in on a substantive coach.
“We have always been very clear ever since we came into office and we were very clear that Mapeza was on an interim basis. We had assignments for each of the coaches that worked on an interim basis and Sunday Chidzambwa is the first substantive coach we have appointed, so how can we be now rushing to look for another coach.
“It must also be understood that whenever there is a no coach and there is an assignment to be fulfilled, our technical director can always step in like what Mutekede did,” Sibanda said.