We were stunned to hear Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe blaming his players’ lack of international experience as the reason for his team’s 4-2 battering at the hands of Libya’s Al Ahly Tripoli in their Caf Champions League engagement in Sfaxien, Tunisia.
insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
What was interesting was how the Green Machine, from Chitembwe’s comments, was how the team suddenly didn’t have the required experience against a low key opponent like Al Ahly Tripoli after they had eliminated five-time champions TP Mazembe and had beaten African football heavyweights USM Alger of Algeria 2-1.
However, the truth is that nobody admits failure and no one would fault Chitembwe for not admitting that his technical shortcomings played a big part in the Zimbabwean champions’ heavy fall.
The truth is that the game was lost for the Green Machine — and won for Al Ahly Tripoli — at half-time when the two coaches devised their strategies for the remaining part of the game.
At that stage of the match, Makepekepe were at an advantage leading 2-1 and it is what Chitembwe told his players to go out there and do and what the Al Ahly Tripoli coach communicated to his players that made the difference. Simple.
A team blessed with such seasoned players as former and current national team players like Hardlife Zvirekwi, Edmore Sibanda, Devon Chafa, Tafadzwa Rusike, Joel Ngodzo, as well as Abbas Amidu cannot be said to be lacking in international experience.
Chitembwe, however, still has that away game to USM Alger and a home game against Zamalek to make up for what was lost against Al Ahly Tripoli both in Harare and in Tunisia.
A battle was lost but the war is still on.
Zifa should employ own coach
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) should abandon the system of kneeling before clubs begging them to release their coaches to handle the national team — the Warriors.
That Norman Mapeza has not gone with the Warriors for the Cosafa Castle Cup after FC Platinum refused to release him — contending that he has a duty to lead Kugona Kunenge Kudada to the league title — is proof enough that the existing arrangement is not sustainable.
With Mapeza out of the picture, the football controlling body have now turned to Sunday Chidzambwa, who is also employed by ZPC Kariba. Fine, ZPC Kariba agreed to release Chidzambwa, but the question is, what would have happened had the Mashonaland West based club said, no.
Were Zifa going to turn to Black Rhinos for the release of Stanford Stix Mtizwa or to Highlanders for Erol Akbay or to Bantu Rovers for the services of Methembe Ndlovu?
Zifa have made it clear that Mapeza will coach the Warriors but what would be the case should FC Platinum qualify to represent Zimbabwe in the 2018 Caf Champions League or the Caf Confederation Cup?
Will Zifa turn to another club to second their coach to the Warriors for the marathon continental football tournament qualifiers?
The fact remains that Zifa should learn to survive on their own and employ a coach for the senior national team as is the case in other countries.
It does not matter who the coach is and where he comes from. What is important is to have a coach who is available when required. Not those with strings attached.
There are too many top class coaches around — some of them even attached to premiership clubs — and others foreign — whom Zifa can attract without offering too much. If the football federation can afford to employ a technical director, why can’t they afford a national coach?
The fact that Kalisto Pasuwa wanted to stay on as Warriors coach until he was pushed out means the football controlling body was paying the former Dynamos star his dues and the same arrangement that was there with him can also be extended to another coach.
To avoid disruptions or problems in future, Zifa should employ their coach right now, when there is still time, instead of waiting for the time when there is a crisis.
For your comments, views, and suggestions email: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779