HIS immediate target is to help the Harare giants Dynamos reclaim the Premier Soccer League title this year. In an exclusive interview with Standardsport early last week, Dynamos’ new coach Paulo Jorge Silva declared DeMbare will reclaim the championship this year.
Silva said that he was already putting up a team to participate in the CAF Champions League next year.
But looking at his coaching record so far, it seems Silva has a lot of work to do.
Silva and his trusted lieutenant Lloyd Mutasa arrived, with the Portuguese driving a Toyota Granvia at high speed.
“Sorry for coming late. The reason is I violated traffic rules while rushing for this meeting and I got delayed at the police roadblock,” said Silva, showing this reporter a $10 ticket issued to him by the police.
That aside, we got into the interview with Silva sharing his football background.
“I grew up in Santarém, in Lisbon, Portugal. When I turned six, my mother took me to a football school called Club Futebol where I enrolled in their junior ranks. That is how my football career started,” Silva said.
After enrolling at the football school, Silva went on to become one of the most sought after football players in his town. He joined the famous Sporting Lisbon, which is credited for producing one of the world’s best footballer – Cristiano Ronald –who was then snatched by Manchester United by then coach Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I played for a number of topflight teams in Portugal that include FC Porto, Braga and Benfica before packing my bags to play in the German Bundesliga where I had stints with three top clubs. Like many players, I realised my playing days were getting numbered, so I decided to take up coaching and playing at the same time. From the age of 37 I was a player/coach before I finally retired from playing two years later.”4
At 39, in 2011, his coaching career started taking shape. Silva went back to his roots in Portugal were he joined Sporting Lisbon as a junior coach.
“I was coaching the Under-17 boys at Lisbon while doubling as the assistant coach for the reserve team,” he said.
Silva did not stay long at Lisbon as he retraced his footsteps to German’s Bundesliga – now as a coach.
“I had stints with Stuttgart, Greuther Furth, Nuremberg, Aalen – all in Germany – but I was coaching their Under-21 teams. It is in Albania that I got my first job as an assistant coach. This did not last long as well as I left the club to join Sharjah FC where I had my first job as head coach. It was not easy though,” Silva said.
Nicknamed Sledgehammer, the nomadic coach did not stop venturing as he found himself in Austria where he also had stints with two top-flight league clubs, FC Admira and Grödig.
“I joined Admira in 2014 after they had played in the Europa League the previous season,” he said.
In September last year, Silva hit headlines in Nigeria where he joined newly-promoted side COD United Football Club as head coach. Again, his stay was not long. He then came to Zimbabwe where he has joined the Glamour Boys.
“For the short time that I have been here, I have just discovered that Zimbabwe has good clubs and talented players, but their biggest undoing has been the lack of proper junior structures. You can’t go anywhere as a team or a league without junior football,” Silva added.
Silva said his immediate task was to win trophies.
“I am not used to losing. The race has already started. But I can tell you the championship is almost 99% in our hands,” he said.
“I would want to give back to my chairman Keni Mubaiwa. He has been running around day and night, he has not been sleeping for us to be where we are now. My boss Webster Chikengezha as well has been supportive, including my assistant Mutasa here. So I just have to hand them the cup at the end of the season, there are no two ways about it,” Silva said with confidence.
Silva defended his decision to bring players from Brazil.
“That did not mean we have no good players here in Zimbabwe, No. The players will bring a different dimension altogether. With some of them, [a defender and two strikers], having played in Europe, they will help build confidence when we start the African safari journey as I have already told you, that I am already looking at playing in the Champions League next year. They might not be part of the local league action anytime soon, but as for the Champions League, they will be the driving force.”
Silva, who will be turning 44 in May, came to Zimbabwe alone, but said he would soon bring his family to celebrate his success with him.
“I will be going back to bring my wife, father, mother, brothers and sisters for celebrations once I have that trophy in my hands,” he said. Silva said he was adapting quickly to Zimbabwean life. “I have been to a number of countries, so it’s not a problem for me to adapt to Zimbabwe. The only problem is water. I have to carry a small bucket each time I go for training so that when I come back I bring water,” Silva said jokingly.