SENIOR national football team coach, Kalisto Pasuwa (pictured) yesterday admitted his job could be on the ropes in the wake of a disastrous African Nations Championships (Chan) campaign in Rwanda, where his team exited the tournament at the group stages.
BY HENRY MHARA
Speaking on arrival at Harare International Airport, Pasuwa expressed his determination to stay on after the Chan disappointment, but the former Dynamos coach feared for the worst.
“I don’t know what will happen. We didn’t know this would happen when we went there. We all wanted to go and do the nation proud. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. And because of what happened, I am defenseless. I don’t have anything to hold onto. So, whether I will be fired or not, I don’t know, because the people and my bosses had their expectations, which I might not have met,” he said.
“But people should also consider the circumstances that led us to where we are at the moment. Things like the preparations should also be put into perspective before people can rush to judge or make some decisions.”
The Warriors lost their opening two group matches by an identical 1-0 scoreline and in similar circumstances against Zambia and Mali, to bow out of the competition.
They were then held to a 1-all draw by Uganda in the last match, a result that summed up a horrible tournament for them.
The first batch of the team, with a delegation of 23 including Pasuwa and his captain Hardlife Zvirekwi, arrived home yesterday afternoon, with the rest of the squad expected this morning.
Pasuwa went to the tournament without a contract, a decision which might come back to haunt him.
“Sometimes we make these decisions based on circumstances on the ground and the love for the country. But at times, it does not work out the way one would have planned. I just wanted to work for my nation and I still do, but what will happen next I don’t know. Maybe these are the hazards that come with this job.”
The four-time league title winner reckoned that had the Warriors played at least two preparatory matches, they could probably have fared better.
He said the injury to one of his key men, defender Elisha Muroiwa, who was stretchered off in the first game against Zambia, could also have contributed in destabilising the team and the eventual defeat.
The Warriors conceded the goal when Muroiwa was still being attended to, with the defenders failing to pick the man on the blind side from a set piece situation.
They were also guilty of the same mistakes in the matches against Mali and Uganda.
“The players struggled in the first match, but you could see some improvements as the tournament progressed. They only started to adjust in the second match. So I think had we played at least one or two friendly matches, they would have gone there knowing exactly what to expect.
“There was no communication at the back when we conceded. We thought we had corrected it after the first game, but we went on to concede from similar situations. We also created a lot of chances than all our opponents, but we missed almost all of them.
“We needed to put away every little chance that came our way. Even a free kick, you have to utilise it. Teams from our group progressed to the next stage because they did utilise their chances from free kicks, so we needed to be ruthless with every opportunity we got. They would get one chance and punish us. This is one major problem that cost us the most, failing to convert our chances. Like I said, I think some of these mistakes could have been corrected had we played a number of friendly matches.”
Despite the distress, there were some positives that Pasuwa drew from the tournament.
These include the individual performances of some of his squad players.
He cited Tatenda Mukuruva, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Lawrence Mhlanga, Stephen Makatuka, Muroiwa, Marshall Mudehwe and Edmore Chirambadare as some of the stars who impressed and would consider for future national duty, provided he retains his job.
Pasuwa, again, apologised for letting the nation down.