ZIFA slam door on Mapeza, Grobbelaar

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

ZIFA slam door on Mapeza, Grobbelaar 
Bruce Grobbelaar

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

ZIFA appear to have closed the door on former Zimbabwe internationals Norman Mapeza and Bruce Grobbelaar and all prospective coaches they have recently interviewed for the Warriors job.

Instead, the Normalisation Committee running ZIFA on Tuesday brewed a shocker when they decided to re-advertise for the post.

Lincoln Mutasa’s Normalisation Committee have chosen to keep Zimbabweans guessing on a number of issues around the status of the nation’s flagship sport.

This includes an update on the reform process they are undertaking at ZIFA since their appointment by FIFA on July 11 last year, appointment of substantive national teams’ coaches, election roadmap and the venue of the Warriors’ next World Cup home assignment.

On Tuesday, Mutasa and his committee made an about turn on the interviews they had carried after the former Dynamos chairman claimed that they had received more than 100 applications for the Warriors job.

ZIFA had also literally auditioned Brazilian Baltemar Brito and Mapeza when they appointed them to take charge of the Warriors on an interim basis.

Mutasa and his crew also interviewed Warriors and Liverpool legend Grobbelaar on his visit to Harare in March.

Former Warriors defenders Kaitano Tembo and George Mbwando had also put their hands up for the Warriors job.

The Normalisation Committee who met last week reportedly hit a deadlock on the choice of Warriors coach amid indications that they were being pressured by some agents and cartels on who to appoint.

Despite receiving numerous applications for the Warriors job, ZIFA are still not satisfied and have started a fresh search just 30 days before Zimbabwe host Lesotho a World Cup, Group C qualifier on June 3.

The identity of the venue of that match against Lesotho has also not been made public.

ZIFA’s bid to lure Nyasa Big Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa from his job with the serial Malawi champions also hit a snag with the former Dynamos man electing to stay at his club.

Although ZIFA authorities have repeatedly chosen not to respond to media inquiries despite chief executive officer Yvonne Manwa acknowledging receipt of the questions, they let the cat out of the bag on their Warriors intentions, through the advert which they also placed through the FIFA website.

The move to restart the search for the Warriors coach also suggests that ZIFA have disbanded the technical committee, which included the likes of Moses Chunga and Gibson Homela, who they had set up to assist them in identifying the right personnel for the national teams’ posts.

According to the advert, “the candidates should hold higher qualifications like the CAF Pro Licence, CAF A Licence or any Pro-licence and have a minimum five years of international football experience at senior levels.

“The coach’s mandate will be to lead the senior men’s national team and direct the program and preparations for the team for various tournaments, including the 2025 AFCON qualifiers, the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and COSAFA tournaments.”

Mapeza was the last coach to work with the Warriors after he was once again appointed on interim basis to lead the side to a Four-Nations invitational tournament in Malawi in March.

Although there had been indications that Mapeza’s mandate would be extended to cover the World Cup qualifiers, ZIFA seem to have been influenced by reports of a public fallout between Italy-based midfielder Jordan Zemura’s camp and the FC Platinum coach.

It is not immediately clear how much time the new coach will have before he plans for the Warriors clash against Lesotho and South Africa, away a week later.

Ex-Highlanders coach Brito got the Warriors World Cup qualification bid underway when he took charge of the opening games against Rwanda and Nigeria in Huye which both ended in draws.

The Warriors first featured in a goalless draw with Rwanda, which was followed by a 1-1 stalemate against West African giants Nigeria.

The Normalisation Committee initially advertised for the vacant Warriors job in August last year, a month after their appointment by FIFA.

Among those that expressed interest then was Romanian–Hungarian coach Csaba Laszlo, who has vast experience coaching in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa leagues, Frank Nuttal of Scotland and Macedonian Gjoko Hadzievski.

The trio were among the over 15 foreign coaches to show interest in the job.

Lately Mbwando, a holder of UEFA A licence also submitted his application to ZIFA while Tembo, currently unattached since leaving South African Premiership side Sekhukhune United also expressed his interest.

The 53-year-old Tembo, a former Warriors vice-captain told a South-African-based online publication Far Post that he was available for the Warriors job should ZIFA consider him.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience, and for me, I’m a coach, and when you’re a coach, you don’t say I don’t want to coach. If the opportunity comes for me to coach the Warriors, I’m available. I’m a coach, and I can coach anywhere.

“I won’t say they haven’t approached me, but the most important thing to say is that I am available,’’ Tembo said.

Among other key attributes, ZIFA are looking for now is that the candidate must have “extensive international football knowledge and experience” at senior national team level and “prior experience coaching an African national team” as well as “familiarity with the role of sport science in preparing players for international competitions.”

The deadline for applications is this Sunday followed by interviews in the coming weeks.

Although there is a strong move within the Normalisation Committee to hire an expatriate, ZIFA’s history of a flawed recruitment of foreign coaches has been the major difference between Zimbabwe and their neighbours like South Africa and Zambia.

South Africa have enjoyed relative success with expatriates including incumbent and Nations Cup winner – Belgian Hugo Broos – while Zambia are on the rise again under ex-Chelsea manager Avram Grant, who boasts of huge experience with both European and African football.

Croat Zdravko “Loga’’ Logarusic, who had a disastrous spell with the senior team was the last substantive Warriors coach.

Despite failing to produce results Loga cost ZIFA a cumulative US$223 000 in salaries and bonuses over a period of 20 months.