ZIFA board member responsible for development, John Phiri has defended the appointment of Kalisto Pasuwa as national Under-23 coach.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Pasuwa was recently handed responsibility to ensure qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games to be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Under-23 job, for now, is being regarded as the most important task in Zimbabwean football following self-imposed isolation by the Warriors who failed to qualify for the 2015 Afcon finals at the hands of minnows Tanzania.
But the appointment of Pasuwa for such a crucial post has been met with skepticism from some football sections following the coach’s glaring failure in international football with Dynamos.
Pasuwa has thrice successively failed to qualify for the CAF Champions League group stages with DeMbare.
Even after relegation to the CAF Confederations Cup in 2012, Dynamos failed to redeem themselves in the interclub competitions.
Dynamos last season lost to lowly-ranked Lesotho Correctional Services in the first round, second leg of the CAF Champions League.
Now, Zifa have entrusted Pasuwa with heading a high level mission in which Zimbabwe is likely to meet African powerhouses like Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana who usually use Europe-based youths for their Olympic qualification campaigns.
Pasuwa was appointed at the recommendation of the Phiri- chaired Zifa High Performance Technical Committee (HPTC) and would be assisted by Hwange coach Nation Dube and Saul Chaminuka of ZPC Kariba.
Other members of the HPTC include Gibson Homela, Bhekimpilo Nyoni, Misheck Chidzambwa, Maxwell Takaendesa-Jongwe and Cosmas Zulu.
“As you know, Peter Ndlovu just disappeared so we just elevated Pasuwa to the helm,” said Phiri. “We looked at what he has achieved with Dynamos as well as his qualifications. He has the experience required for this job. Even his age is a plus because in him one can see a future senior national team coach.”
Mkhupali Masuku was also considered for the job but the former Highlanders coach did not submit his credentials when Zifa advertised the post before HPTC’s recommendations.
Ex-How Mine gaffer Philani Ncube’s name was also debated by the committee.
In the past year, Pasuwa served as assistant coach to former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa in a system that dangerously turned a blind eye on some of Zimbabwe’s finest football talent stationed overseas.
Another member of the HPTC who declined to be identified also defended Pasuwa, saying he was the ultimate choice they came up with.
“We discussed at length the appointment of Kalisto Pasuwa,” he said. “It should be noted that CAF requires national team coaches to be highly-qualified and there you have Pasuwa studying for his CAF A Licence. There is no other in Zimbabwe who could be better than Pasuwa.
“We have heard of complaints that we left out coaches based in Bulawayo. We do not operate on regional lines. The appointment of a coach is simple. You just look at his results on the pitch and his qualifications. Pasuwa fitted the bill.
“On his failure at Dynamos in continental competitions, you look at the environment he is working in. Every time he wins the league title he loses players to South Africa so it is not his fault.”
The Dynamos coach could however find himself in a worse environment at Zifa, considering overseas-based players could be difficult to bring as the cash-strapped association sometimes struggles to secure air tickets for the players.
Lack of international friendlies as well as training camps is also likely to be a handicap for Pasuwa.
Given this scenerio Zimbabwean football could be headed for disaster.