ZIFA’S new national Under-23s project could turn out to be another disaster as it emerges Kalisto Pasuwa is yet to be formally appointed substantive coach.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The association last month gave the nation the impression that they had held discussions with the Dynamos coach whom they purported to have officially given the mandate to lead the Young Warriors.
A Zifa High Performance Technical Committee recommended the appointment of Pasuwa who is set to be assisted by ZPC Kariba gaffer Saul Chaminuka and Hwange’s Nation Dube.
With the Warriors out of competitive action for over a year, the three’s task is to ensure qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
But with Zimbabwe still smarting from the Warriors’ premature exit from the 2015 Afcon qualification, it has turned out that Zifa could have sold the nation a dummy.
The association said they regarded the Warriors failure as a national disaster but events that preceded that doomed campaign appear to be repeating themselves.
Zifa also insisted that they would not miss any Fifa international match programme but the period which opened last Wednesday and closes mid this week is about to lapse with the Under-23s still inactive.
Currently, there is no team in place and Olympic qualifiers begin early next year although Fifa is yet to release the dates.
A proposed international friendly with Libya was cancelled last week by the North Africans.
The sparring match had been scheduled for this Wednesday but a week before the game, Pasuwa had not been formally engaged by Zifa to allow him time to scout for players, an exercise that normally should have begun two months ago.
“I cannot talk about the Under-23s because I have not been officially appointed coach,” said Pasuwa.
“No one has approached me regarding that. I only read it in newspapers that I am the national Under-23 coach but nothing of that sort is true as far as I am concerned.”
Zifa have not requested Pasuwa’s CV nor have they offered him a contract – just as happened when former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa worked with the disbanded Warriors.
However, Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela seemed to dismiss Pasuwa’s claims, insisting that the appointment was done and that Zifa was in fact expecting an action plan from him.
“We wrote to Pasuwa a letter of appointment and he received it last month. We expect him to provide us with a programme of action,” said Gwesela.
“I doubt if we will manage to play any friendly matches during the current Fifa period. Our Under-23 team has to be subjected to a number of friendly internationals because we want to build a strong team that would be a force to reckon with on the continent,” he said.
Yet, Zimbabwe could make a formidable side for the Olympics with Tear-away Warriors winger Kudakwashe Mahachi, Dutch-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and Sweden-stationed linkman Archford Gutu eligible for the Olympics.
Dynamos right-back Blessing Moyo is also eligible for the quadrennial tournament that calls for players born on or after January 1 1993.
Teenage sensation Macauley Bonne of English League One side Colchester United has also availed himself for the Young Warriors. The 18-year-old forward was born in England to Zimbabwean parents. But cash-strapped Zifa could find it difficult to fly in the players for assignments.
Fifa has set October 25 deadline to register teams for the Olympics where only four African teams’ slots are reserved for qualification.