WARRIORS coach Kalisto Pasuwa could be set for another collision course with Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda after the former football agent cum administrator was appointed chairman of the High Performance Committee (HPC) announced by the local football governing body’s president Philip Chiyangwa last week.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Sibanda will chair the seven-member HPC whose other members include ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa (vice-chairperson), former goalkeeper Innocent Chogugudza, Chicken Inn coach Rahman Gumbo, Harare City mentor Moses Chunga and ex referee Masimba Chihowa.
In addition to the HPC, Sibanda will also chair the technical development committee, the human resources committee and the ad-hoc disciplinary committee.
But it is the appointment of the Zifa vice-president to head the committee which oversees the performance of the national team which has set the stage for another clash with Pasuwa.
Last year Sibanda chaired an extra-ordinary meeting of the Zifa national executive committee which resolved to fire Pasuwa and his entire backroom staff just a few days before the start of the 2016 African Nations Championships (Chan) finals in Rwanda.
Pasuwa was set to be replaced by then Chicken Inn head coach Joey Antipas, who immediately rejected the offer causing further chaos.
Zifa later reversed the decision following public outcry and directive from Sports and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane to reinstate Pasuwa.
Sibanda had among other things, also accused Pasuwa of working in cahoots with his manager and player intermediary Gibson Mahachi to select players managed by the latter into the national team for marketing purposes.
Sibanda even claimed Mahachi had under his personal management 16 players in the Warriors training squad for the 2016 African Nations Championships (Chan) finals, but it eventually turned out to be incorrect. The player agent only managed four players on the roster.
The Bulawayo businessman said they sacked Pasuwa after he resisted the move by the new Zifa board to fire long-serving team manager Shariff Mussa and replace him with Wellington Mpandare.
Chiyangwa, however, remained defiant yesterday, claiming the differences between the two were now a thing of the past.
“Pasuwa’s job is safe; no one can dare touch him or make a move without my knowledge. Don’t expect any move because my VP has a sour relationship with Pasuwa. That is a thing of the past,” Chiyangwa said.
While the involvement of Sibanda in the HPC has raised. Some eyebrows, Zifa’s decision to appoint practicing coaches in the committee has also been met with sharp criticism from local football stakeholders.
Former Warriors defender John Phiri, a former chairman of the HPC yesterday added his voice to the growing list of various football stakeholders, who feel Zifa should revise their appointments.
“I don’t think it is proper to have active coaches in the High Performance Committee and if Zifa insist with the move, I foresee problems in the near future. It will definitely put pressure on the Warriors coach (Kalisto Pasuwa). Remember these coaches are coming from their own clubs and they have their own ideas and then there is the issue of team selection,” Phiri said.
However, Chiyangwa, who will head the contentious Zifa Referees Committee defended his board’s decision before adding that they were only answerable to Fifa.
“People must know that those who are in office are the ones who make decisions. We are not a parliament of the country, but of football and we are only answerable to Fifa. If there are errors that I would have made they will only be corrected by Fifa,” he said.
The Chiyangwa-led board finally established standing committees to assist in the administration of the game, their second in just over 60 days after it also named other committees under the National Football Association (NAFAZ) banner in June.
Zifa had not appointed any standing committees since their bid to dissolve the association and reform under a new name was deemed illegal and in violation of their own constitution.