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Zifa must appoint substantive coach now


During World War II, former British politician and statesman Winston Churchill said: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

Churchill is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders.

One cannot dissociate Churchill’s old saying from Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) who have failed to appoint a substantive coach since the departure of Sunday Chidzambwa in May last year.

There is no doubt that the appointment of Belgian Tom Saintfiet was more of a farce after he failed to get a work permit, ostensibly because there was dissonance in the Zifa board at that time.

While Zifa president Cuthbert Dube was quoted saying he would not appoint a Belgian for the post, his lieutenants, under the technical committee banner, were busy negotiating with Saintfiet.

Ignorantly, Saintfiet assumed work without the requisite papers hence his abrupt deportation.
He was denied a work permit twice by the Department of Immigration.

The rejection buried him and his prospects of coaching the Warriors.

Now for the big question: Why is Zifa taking so long to appoint a substantive coach long after Saintfiet was given the red card by the Department of Immigration?

Charles Mhlauri and Rahman Gumbo have been linked to the top job while Madinda Ndlovu remains caretaker coach. Zimbabwe have been under the tutelage of temporary coaches since the departure of Chidzambwa last year.

Herein lies the problem. Coaches, like any other leaders, need to plan.

Planning is the fulcrum of success and no one would want to make a long-term plan when they are hired on a transitory basis.

Madinda cannot make plans with the Warriors when the axe is hanging over him. He is aware that Zifa have approached Mhlauri and Gumbo.

He is aware that soon he will pass the baton to someone else and that is problematic because in such a case there is a high possibility of someone not giving 100% towards their job.

Zifa must appoint the Warriors coach now so that the new man plans ahead of the resumption of the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.

Players need to get used to their coach and the coach needs to get used to his players. That way it creates the necessary synergy in the team which is the recipe for success.

But that cannot happen when Zifa continue to change coaches. The players need to know who is their boss now and begin to develop a rapport that will take Zimbabwe football forward.

The issue of sitting on the fence by the football authorities over the national team coach issue has also affected the rankings of the team.

The Warriors were ranked 113th when Dube came to power and today they sit five places down the ladder. Something must be done about this.

The flimsy reason that Mhlauri is demanding an exorbitant salary does not hold water because Zifa had signed a similar contract with Sainfiet.

Where were they going to the money to pay Saintfiet? They should use the same money to pay Mhlauri.

If they think Madinda is the best man for the job, then they should appoint him and stop this game of procrastination. Soccer lovers deserve better than this.

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