Tafadzwa Mashiri, the national Under-17 team coach, has praised the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for placing their faith in him.
By Nyambira Chivasa in Masvingo
Despite being one of the highly qualified soccer coaches in the country, being a holder of a Level Four coaching certificate as well as being armed with both the CAF A and B licences in coaching, his appointment was critisised by some coaches who felt that the job should have been given to an experienced coach with a traceable record of success in working with juniors.
Mashiri, a Physical Education teacher at Gutu High School — a Reformed Church in Zimbabwe run institution — is the head coach at Eastern Region Division One outfit Gutu FC.
His football history dates back to his days as a player at the now defunct Gutu Leopards FC in 2011, a team which was bankrolled by Masvingo business tycoon Tanda Tavaruva.
The notable success story of Mashiri in football circles includes his 2012 victory in the Windmill Football Tournament with Gutu High School after edging provincial rivals Dewure High School 1-0 at Prince Edward High School in Harare.
Standardsport spoke to Mashiri to find out more about the man whom Zifa has entrusted with identifying talent for the future.
“At times it’s always good to give other people a chance to show what they can do. I have to thank God for the appointment as national Under-17 team coach. What is left is for me to reward them for putting trust in me,” said Mashiri.
He commended Zifa for casting their net wide in selecting national team coaches for all the national teams as he believes it is going to improve the process of identifying talent.
Zifa used to look at coaches only in and around big cities: Harare, Bulawayo, and Gweru, leaving out small towns like Masvingo. I am happy they have come to a point where they noticed the good job that we have been doing as well. I hope the move will help in improving talent identification in all corners of the country,” he added.
Mashiri hopes the vast experience he has attained over the years will help him achieve his goals.
“With the experience that I have gained as a player and now as a coach, I will be capable of guiding the youthful side in their campaign during and after the African Union Sports Region VI Games. I have since received my offer letter and I am now more than ready to start working and I am sure I will pull through,” he said.
African Union Sports Region VI Under-20 Youth Games will be held in Bulawayo from December 4 to 15 this year. Fifteen countries will converge in the country’s second largest city and these include South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, DRC, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is among countries like Zambia, Ghana, Sudan, Namibia and South Africa that have had a CAF A licence programme.
Recently Zifa announced head coaches of the Under-13, 15, 17, 20 and 23 teams.
Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa is rumoured to have been appointed head coach of the Olympic squad — the Under-23 — taking over from Peter Ndlovu who is now team manager at South African side Mamelodi Sundowns.
Jairos Tapera has been re-appointed national Under-20 coach.
Mashiri is the head coach of the Under-17 national team with former Kiglon head coach Pearson Matipedza coming in as the new Under-15 head coach.
James Mohala from the Naph structures will head the Under-13 national team.
Bulawayo’s Sithethelelwe Sibanda has been appointed head coach for both the Under-20 and Under-23 women’s teams while Hwange High School English teacher Evelyn Rimai is the new Under-17 women national team boss.
However, Zifa is yet to appoint assistant coaches.