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Gumbo open to Warriors return

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Former Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo is open to a return to the national soccer team although Zifa are yet to make contact with the triple championship-winning coach.

Gumbo, who won league titles with Highlanders (Zimbabwe), MTL Wanderers (Malawi) and Township Rollers (Botswana), is in charge of second placed Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the BeMobile league in Botswana.

With another former coach Charles Mhlauri out of the race due to his huge demands, Norman Mapeza seemingly fizzled out by the last Zifa Board vote and Madinda Ndlovu only in a caretaker position, Gumbo remains the only available, and closest, candidate that Zifa can attempt to lure.

The Warriors face Mali in a crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on March 25 in Bamako and with such little time left and no international friendly match in place, any coach who comes in or continues with the team, does not have the time to produce an away win.

Speaking to NewsDay Sport for the first time since he was linked to the job, Gumbo said he had not been approached by Zifa, but could be available if some “factors” are worked out.

“There has been no contact from Zifa for now and I would not know what is taking place. There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed and some factors to be taken care of. For now, I can’t say much, I can’t say I will come in or not, I might, I might not,” he said from his base in Gaborone on Monday.

Last week, our sister paper, The Standard, reported that Kris Graham, the president of Lightning board of directors said in the club’s first statement since Mhlauri was linked to the Warriors job, that it was the club’s wish for him to stay and grow with the club.

The United States club is reported to have tabled another offer to the former Warriors coach in a bid to make him stay but the club refused to reveal the figures involved.

Zifa has offered Mhlauri a monthly salary of US$10 000 in addition to a lump sum payment of $200 000 to take charge of the Warriors and the US club is aware of the carrot dangled for their director of coaching.

“Charles Mhlauri is our director of coaching. We are lucky to have him, as he has been very instrumental in our success, with some of our teams leading in their age group regionally and our club growing exponentially.

“We are aware that he has been offered the position to coach Zimbabwe. It is our desire to have him live and continue to grow the club here (United States),” Graham said in a statement.

Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede, who flew to Sudan at noon yesterday for the 33rd Caf Congress set for tomorrow, said nothing had been finalised as yet as he had been out and referred all questions to his boss Cuthbert Dube, who could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The Warriors have been without a coach since Sunday Chidzambwa quit last year and attempts to hire Tom Saintfiet collapsed after the Belgian failed to get a work permit.

Zifa then appointed Mapeza and Ndlovu to take charge of the Afcon qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands last October at the National Sports Stadium.

That failed to produce results as the Warriors were held to a 0-0 draw.

The Zifa Board then settled on Ndlovu to take over for Chan in Sudan and are now faced with a dilemma as to whether he continues or a permanent coach is appointed.

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