SUNDAY Chidzambwa has sensationally bounced back as Zimbabwe national soccer team coach for a second term.
Chidzambwa, who quit the team in the aftermath of the 2004 African Nations Cup, was unveiled at a function yesterday and will immediately assume an unusual “caretaker” role which will have him taking over the post while current substantive coach Valinhos see his contract through. Valinhos’ contract runs until December 31 and Chidzambwa will effectively take over as fulltime coach from the Brazilian in the New Year.
Valinhos was present at the function yesterday and sat next to Chidzambwa. His role in the transitional period is not clear as Chidzambwa will be in charge of the team when Zimbabwe travel to South Africa for an African Nations Championships match next weekend.
Introducing Chidzambwa, Zifa chief executive Henrieta Rushwaya said the association could not wait to get the new dispensation roaring.
“The appointment of a caretaker coach is not the end but just the beginning,” Rushwaya said. “As a way forward, we saw it fit to try and rebuild lost pride. In an effort to do the right thing, we have appointed Sunday Chidzambwa while Mr Valinhos sees his contract through. Other than wait, we said we would rather start working on new things at this juncture. It’s high time we start afresh and look at home-grown solutions.”
Chidzambwa immediately hinted that he would build a new team.
“Basically we have to rebuild,” he told reporters. “We will do that using junior players mostly from the Under 20s. Since our next competitive games will only be in four years time, I think we will have enough time to do that.”
He admitted that accepting the offer was not easy.
“It’s a hard decision. People must not expect good results instantly. This is a very difficult job ahead of me and I will try my level best. I may succeed, I may not,” said the former Dynamos coach in his usual cautious attitude.
Chidzambwa is revered for taking Zimbabwe’s Warriors to their first-ever African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia in 2004.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with IndependentSport, Valinhos threatened to report Zifa to world governing body Fifa for failing to pay him his salary for six months. Zifa has not paid Valinhos since May. He also revealed that he offered Zifa to pay him for six months only, from May to October, and forgo payments November and December.
“I’ve offered them to do that since they have no money,” he said. “But still they haven’t honoured that. If they don’t pay me before I return to Brazil, I will have to report to Fifa.”
Valinhos warned Chidzambwa against frustration by the administration.
“They (Zifa) have to change, otherwise the new coach will face the same problems as I faced,” he said. “To Sunday I say good luck. I wish him all the best.”
He said he enjoyed his time in the country away from soccer.
“I like the Zimbabwean people, they were good to me everywhere went, at the hotel, in the streets
and at the stadium. Maybe I will work here again, why not?”, he said.
By Enock Muchinjo