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Zifa want Mhlauri

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Embattled Zifa have set their sights on former national team coach Charles Mhlauri in case incumbent Tom Saintfiet does not get a work permit.

Inside sources on Monday said the football governing body was at sixes and sevens to deal with the Warriors coach issue amid indications that Belgian coach Saintfiet might not get the necessary documents anytime soon.

The same sources said Zifa were eager to rope in another former Warriors coach, Rahman Gumbo, who is now based in Botswana, in the event that first- choice Mhlauri turns down their offer.

Saintfiet, who was deported from the country in September, has been living outside the country, initially in Botswana before he went back to Namibia where he was head coach for that country before he assumed the Warriors post.

The Belgian was hired early in September after he applied for the job but has since struggled to get the work permit after he worked without the official papers in the build-up to the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde last month.

Zimbabwe drew 0-0 with the islanders in a match assistant coaches Madinda Ndlovu and Norman Mapeza were co-coaches.

The set-up has been deemed a failure and Zifa have since appointed Ndlovu to be in-charge of the forthcoming match against Mozambique on November 17.

Mapeza has since quit saying he was not wanted by the Zifa board members who voted against him to be in charge of the Mozambique game.

A Zifa board member said: “The issue of Saintfiet is causing headaches for the board because it is taking too long to get his work permit.

People are of the view that we need to have a long-term solution for the team in case Saintfiet does not get the work permit.

“That is why people have been tasked to enquire with Mhlauri and Gumbo if they are prepared to come back. The prime target is Mhlauri while Gumbo will be plan B.”

Mhlauri is currently based in the United States where he is the director of coaching at Lightning Soccer Club in the New Hampshire State League and is responsible for training programmes for the juniors right up to the senior team.

Mhlauri holds an “A” licence coaching certificate obtained in Germany and has worked with some of the top clubs in that country such as Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

Before assuming his current role, Mhlauri coached at Wesleyan University and in the same country at various elite camps.

Gumbo is in Botswana where he is coaching that country’s top-flight side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and has tasted success by winning three championships in three different countries.

He has won the top accolade in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana with Telkom Wanderers, Highlanders and Township Rollers respectively.

No immediate comment could be obtained from Zifa and Mhlauri on Monday night.

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