By Grace Chingoma
ZIFA are set for a complete overhaul of the Warriors technical team after the last member of that department, team manager Sharif Mussa, resigned from his post on Wednesday. Mussa was the last man standing in the Zimbabwe’s senior team technical department. Former coach Callisto Pasuwa and his backroom staff were relieved of their duties at the end of last month after the gaffer’s contract with the national association expired.
But on Wednesday, Mussa tendered his resignation to ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa. In a lengthy letter, Mussa cited his business, family and religious commitments as the reasons for leaving his job.
“Over the many years that I have worked with football, I have dedicated my services to the national game and to a football-loving nation Zimbabwe and I must say I have enjoyed and endured the highs and lows that come with this sport.
“It is at this juncture that I would want to realign and refocus towards the development of my family and my business that had been forced to take a back seat during this ride.
“The attention required to attain my goals for my business and family would leave my duties and responsibilities within the current team set-up vulnerable to some extent.
“It has been a huge pleasure and honour to work under the football association and the experience I have gained will always be invaluable and I will continue to use it to help our football grow and I want to reiterate Sir that, if engaged in future, I will consider where and in what sort of capacity I can help.
“Such a move will also be taken after due consideration of my business commitments as well as family and religious commitments,” read part of the letter.
The Harare businessman said he feels this is the right time for a sabbatical.
“As the euphoria of the 2017 African Cup of Nations where Zimbabwe participated dies down, I am aware the association needs to look to the future and I feel that it is time for me to step aside and allow for the progress of continuation to be assigned to another person to carry on the baton.
“The journey to the 2017 AFCON finals, just like those to the CHAN 2014 and CHAN 2016 as well as a number of COSAFA Cup tournaments including the one we last won at home in 2009, has been experienced with mixed emotions for the nation, the technical support structures, the team, the football players and football association as a whole,” said Mussa.
He also paid a glowing tribute to Chiyangwa and his executive for standing by him during his time with the Warriors.
“I wish to thank you Sir, in your personal capacity, and to thank you and your executive committee for affording me a chance to serve the senior national team in the role of the team manager.
“I may have already been appointed to that post when your leadership came into office, but you still found it worthwhile to repose your confidence in me and entrusted me to carry on and for that I will forever remain grateful to you Sir.
“I have always remained passionate and committed to serving my country through the Zimbabwe Football Association’s national teams and as you may have noted I have occasionally used my personal resources to help in the discharge of national teams and assist in various spheres,” wrote Mussa.
He has had an on-and-off relationship with ZIFA.
His latest tenure lasted about four years, but he is widely considered as the best team manager that the Warriors ever had.
He is very popular with the players.
His first flirtation with the team started at the turn of the millennium when he was understudy to then team manager Rafiq Adam as the liaison officer in 2004 when Zimbabwe appeared at their debut AFCON finals.
A polyglot, whose liaisons and strong connections often aided the national team during their travels around Africa and at tournaments, said he will always cherish the moments he shared with various players and coaches such as Peter Ndlovu, Willard Katsande and Callisto Pasuwa.
Yesterday ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said he was not yet in a position to comment on Shariff’s bombshell.
“I haven’t seen his resignation (letter).
“We haven’t received the letter, I even inquired with the chief executive, and he hasn’t received any letter from anyone, so I am not going to comment on that one,” he said.