Zifa meet over Gumbo

RAHMAN GUMBO is likely to know whether he has done enough to become the next substantive Warriors mentor today when the Zifa board meets in Harare this afternoon to deliberate on the appointment of a national coach for the 2013 African Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup campaigns.

Gumbo has been in charge of the Warriors on an interim basis following Zifa’s decision to suspend Norman Mapeza until the former Monomotapa coach is cleared from the Asiagate scam.

But with the process to bring the Asiagate match-fixing probe seemingly looking like an endless exercise, the Warriors needed a coach ahead of the start of their 2013 Nations Cup and 2014 World Cup qualifying campaigns and Gumbo was appointed to double up as FC Platinum and national team coach.

There have been new developments, however, with Gumbo being fired by the ambitious platinum miners.

His sacking at the 2011 Premiership runners-up has now meant that Gumbo has become available for the Warriors job on a full-time basis, eight years after his last dance as the substantive national coach.

Gumbo, who has had club coaching stints in Malawi and Botswana, had a rocky start on his return to the Warriors fold with the senior team going on a three-match winless run that began with a 2-1 defeat by Burundi in a Nations Cup qualifier in Bujumbura, was followed by a 1-0 home loss to Guinea and a 0-0 draw against Mozambique away in the World Cup qualifiers.

The former Highlanders coach, however, tasted his first win with the Warriors when they beat Burundi 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium on June 17 to proceed to the final qualifying round for a place at the Nations Cup finals.

Today the Zifa leadership will convene in the first of back-to-back meetings to discuss the appointment of a new Warriors coach and also get an update on the progress being made to bring the Asiagate chapter to finality.

Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, said yesterday the issue of the Warriors coach and the report on Asiagate were the only items on the agenda of today’s meeting while another board indaba next week would discuss the preparations for the final Nations Cup qualifier against Angola as well as the resumption of the World Cup campaign.

“The meeting will discuss the method to be used in regularising the appointment of the national coach . . . do we advertise for the post, do we just headhunt or do we confirm those who are there already there?

“But whatever we do nothing should stop us from appointing a head coach so that whoever has been put in there can now start to focus on the 2013 and 2014 campaigns.

“We also need the Warriors head coach to work with the under-age teams so that there can be a homogenous approach.

“We need to know who the coach is before we play Zambia in a friendly match (on August 8) because we cannot have one coach for the friendlies and then make our announcement just before the qualifiers. We would need to give whoever is coming in the time and an opportunity to use the friendly matches for preparations,” Mashingaidze said.

The Zifa chief executive also remained hopeful that the association would be able to tie a partnership deal with a corporate entity that will take of the upkeep of the coach.

Zifa, who are highly unlikely to hire a foreign coach, have been trying to convince mining firm Mbada Diamonds to bankroll the costs the Warriors mentor and there appears a strong feeling within the board that Gumbo should just be given the mandate to try and take the senior team to the next Nations cup in South Africa.

“Once we have a substantive head coach we will ask our corporate partners to help with the bills for the upkeep of the coach”.

Mashingaidze also acknowledged that there was need for the Asiagate saga to come to an end.

“We are keen to see finality to the Asiagate matter so that by August 15 whoever would have been appointed Warriors coach can also know which players are eligible for selection.

“September, when we play Angola is just four weeks away so the coaches need to know they can consider for their call-up list and we are saying we need an indication of the squad fir Angola by not later than August 15 so that we have at least 21 days for the man in charge to prepare his training programme and for the office to have time to ask for the release of players from their respective clubs.

“It is not just about the players but all the individuals implicated, it is important for us all to know where they stand and we are also aware that the Asiagate issue has a bearing on some of the externally based players in terms of their contracts at some of the clubs or for those who are looking at moving and that is why we are saying by August 15 the Asiagate chapter should have been finalised,” Mashingaidze said. By Sbue


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