Last week, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) assigned their technical director Wilson Mutekede to take charge of the Zimbabwe Warriors’ two international friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia.
By Micheal Kariati
The Warriors lost both matches.
A few days later, the nation was told that Sunday Chidzambwa had been appointed the Warriors’ caretaker coach for Zimbabwe’s participation in the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge to be held in Kenya.
As things stand right now, Norman Mapeza is the Warriors coach for Zimbabwe’s engagement in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for which Zimbabwe has been placed in the same group with Liberia, DR Congo, and Congo Brazzaville.
Although Mapeza is a darling of many, there is no guarantee — considering the confusion at Zifa — that he will stay on as coach of the Warriors when the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers resume, despite convincingly winning the game against Liberia 3-0.
There is also a chance that Mapeza — should he stay on — would have distractions should FC Platinum win the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title and decide to participate in the Caf Champions League, the same year the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers are to take place.
However, the point is that as things stand right now, it is not clear who the national team coach is — Chidzambwa, Mapeza or Mutekede — or if Zimbabwe even has a national football team coach.
What is abundantly clear is that Zifa do not seem to have a clue as to what sort of coach they need as they are experimenting a lot. With the confusion that is going on, it would not be surprising to be told that Nesbert Saruchera has been appointed the Zimbabwe coach for the next Warriors friendly match.
This current “three national team coaches” situation is confusing as each coach is coming up with a new set of players and a new style of play. As a result, Zimbabwe’s football team no longer has an identity in its type of play.
What is also worrying is that all the friendly matches and the money that was used to fly Zimbabwe’s foreign-based players into the country will count for nothing if the next Warriors coach isn’t the one who gave the players the chance to play in the friendly matches.
Although Mutekede had the chance to have a look and make a decision on Zimbabwe’s England-based players — Tendai Darikwa, Macauley Bonne, Admiral Muskwe, and Kundai Benyu of Celtic in Scotland — Chidzambwa and Mapeza did not, and cannot make a decision on the players they did not see play.
The understanding is that the friendly matches as well as the Cecafa Senior Challenge form part of the preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. On that premise, it would have been logical for the national football controlling body to have assigned one coach for all the engagements.
The way things are going seem to give the impression that Zifa have fallen in love with Chidzambwa. The former Dynamos and Zimbabwe captain was assigned to handle the Warriors at the Cosafa Castle Cup and won the tournament. He was also given the chance to handle the Chan team, which lost out to Namibia.
As if that was not enough, Zifa appointed Chidzambwa as coach of the Zimbabwe legends team that played a two-all draw against the Barcelona legends last week.
Despite his failure in the Chan tournament qualifiers, Chidzambwa has now been asked to take charge of the Zimbabwean team for the Cecafa tournament — a competition that is more competitive than the Cosafa Castle Cup.
The truth is that all these coaching experiments Zifa are undertaking are taking Zimbabwe nowhere. If Zifa want Chidzambwa, they should just negotiate a deal and give him the job for all national team assignments.
If that does not work out, then Zifa should just do the simplest of things — appoint one coach who will take charge of all the Warriors matches until the end of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign as was the case with Chidzambwa in 2004, Charles Mhlauri in 2006 and Kalisto Pasuwa in 2016.
That is the only route to success, not this merry go round with different coaching personnel.
Chibuku Super Cup’s wrong venue
The disappointingly low spectator turnout at Rufaro Stadium for the Chibuku Super Cup final has raised questions on whether this final should have been staged in Harare after all.
The reason for the sorry fact that less than 3 000 people were at the stadium was that even the reduced $2 gate charge was too high for a low key final involving Harare City and How Mine. However, it seems there is more to the situation than meets the eye.
It would be dishonest to ignore the connection between the low-key turnout and the fact that this Chibuku Super Cup final was played in Harare where only Dynamos and Caps United are big crowd drawcards.
That this final was also played in Harare, when the talk of the week was the high-profile exhibition match between the Zimbabwe legends and the Barcelona legends, also raises questions whether this Chibuku Super Cup final should have been staged in Harare, considering the impact of the Zimbabwe legends and the Barcelona legends game.
The truth is that if this final had been staged in cities or towns like Kwekwe, Masvingo, Kadoma, or Marondera, where there is no Premier Soccer League football, it could probably had been a final worth talking about.
Right now, nobody is talking about the 2017 Chibuku Super Cup final.
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