Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
ZIFA have said they are not under pressure to appoint a new coach to fill the void left by the departure of Callisto Pasuwa and his lieutenants.
Pasuwa’s contract was officially terminated last Tuesday after Zifa decided not to go into the optional final 12 months of the open ended two-year deal they had entered into with the coach in February 2016.
The former Zimbabwe international served nearly 20 months and helped the Warriors qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon last month before the acrimonious departure.
Pasuwa was shown the door together with his assistants Saul Chaminuka, Mkhuphali Masuku and goalkeepers trainer Richard Tswatswa.
Team manager Sharif Mussa also announced his retirement from the national team last week to concentrate on his family and personal business.
However Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda yesterday told our Harare Bureau that the Association’s leadership was in no hurry at the moment and were likely to convene a meeting this week to chart the way forward.
“Look here, Pasuwa’s contract has just expired, I think some four to five days ago. It is worthy to note that out of respect for him we couldn’t do anything until he had served his contract up to its end. We could not engage anyone during that period because we had to respect him as our coach.
“But now that it has come to an end we have to ensure that we have something in place. Obviously we need a coach as soon as yesterday but we have to do things properly. Hopefully, by the end of this week, we should be able to know where we are going from here,” said Sibanda.
A number of names have been thrown around as Pasuwa’s likely successor to the hot-seat.
Sources have hinted that former Warriors gaffer Joey Antipas, who is now at South Africa’s National First Division side AmaZulu, has been targeted fueling the speculation that has also seen local coaches like Norman Mapeza, Lloyd Chitembwe and Dutch manager Hendrik Pieter de Jongh being linked with the job.
Former Warriors and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar was the first to come in the open when he indicated his willingness to take up the job.
However, Sibanda believes Zifa have to do a thorough job in settling for the new coach and also having in mind that there are three months left before the Warriors embark in their first international assignment for this year.
He said they will not limit themselves to homegrown talent in the face of a strong debate that Zimbabwe has succeeded in the past under local coaches while foreigners like Valinhos and Tom Sainfeit have left Zifa in all sorts of problems in deals that went sour.
Legendary Sunday Chidzambwa, Charles Mhlauri and Pasuwa are the only coaches that have managed to take the national team to the finals of the Afcon tournament.
Zimbabwe are set to host Liberia in the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 qualifiers which begin in June.
The Warriors will play their opening match against the Lone Stars at home and then pass on the baton to the local-based contingent of players who will feature in the qualifiers for next year’s Chan tournament beginning in July.
Sibanda said the new coach will have enough time to settle in his position.
The Warriors, however, could miss the date for the Fifa international friendlies coming up this month from March 20-28.
“As Zimbabwe we need a coach who can take our football to a better level than it was before. So I cannot talk of foreign or local, what we want is someone who brings value to our football. In short we want the best coach available,” said Sibanda.
“I’m sure everything is under control. Remember national teams are not like football clubs who should be together all the time for preparations because they play week in and week out.
“But these guys will only gather probably a week or so before international matches in accordance with the Fifa regulations on the release of players for international duties.
“I guess there is no need to rush things now. Our neighbours South Africa haven’t had a coach for the past two months and up to now they haven’t made an announcement. I’m sure they have taken their time to settle for the best.”