Botswana-based coach Rahman Gumbo has come strongly into the picture to land the top Warriors job after Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede was spotted with the former Highlanders mentor in Botswana this week.
Gumede was even given a lift by Gumbo back to Zimbabwe as the latter was coming to attend a level four coaching course currently underway at Prince Edward School.
Veteran coach Gibson Homela is the instructor together with Zifa technical director Nelson Matongorere.
Gumede confirmed he met Gumbo, the Mochudi Centre Chiefs coach, in Botswana but said he had gone there on a “private visit” and bumped into the nomadic coach who has also coached in Malawi.
“My visit there was personal although I phoned the president (Cuthbert Dube) to tell him that I was going to Botswana. I then attended the Cosafa Under-20 official opening function. I later went for a drink where I met Jethro Hunidzarira and Rahman Gumbo.
“After I told Gumbo that I would be going back home on a bus, he said he would give me a lift. He was going to Harare to attend a coaching course. We didn’t discuss the Warriors job,” said Gumede.
But our source from Gaborone on Wednesday said:
“Gumede came here to negotiate with Gumbo. I understand he has been offered something. Gumede was here and he was always with Rahman. Gumede’s mission was to lure Gumbo to come back home. Zifa had offered Charles Mhlauri the post but his family does not want to be uprooted from the United States where he is staying.”
Zifa are looking to replace Belgian gaffer Tom Saintfiet after their appointment of the former Namibia coach went up in smoke following the Department of Immigration’s refusal to issue a work permit for the expatriate.
Dube, the Zifa boss, hinted after the debacle that they would hire a local coach while immediately appointing assistant coach Madinda Ndlovu in a caretaker capacity.
Ndlovu has been tasked with establishing groundwork for the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals scheduled for next year.
Gumbo is one of the most decorated coaches in Zimbabwe and holds his own record after winning three championships in three different countries namely Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana.
He won the top accolade with Highlanders in Zimbabwe before proving his mettle in Malawi with Telecom Wanderers.
To show that these feats were not flukes at all, the nomadic coach went on to capture the Botswana title last year with Township Rollers.
Efforts to get a comment from Mhlauri were fruitless on Wednesday.
Mhlauri became the second local coach after Sunday Chidzambwa to take the Warriors to the African Cup of Nations after a series of failures by foreign coaches since independence in 1980.
Chidzambwa, now coaching Black Leopards in South Africa, led Zimbabwe to the continental finals for the first time in 2004 before Mhlauri replicated the feat two years later.