ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa ended all speculation over the future of Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa yesterday after declaring that the former Dynamos gaffer’s job was “safe.”
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
There has been speculation of Pasuwa’s future as Warriors coach, following a disappointing African Nations Championship (Chan) campaign in Rwanda where they failed to progress to the last eight of the tournament after finishing at the bottom of Group D, which had northern neighbours Zambia, Mali and Uganda.
But speaking for the first time since the Warriors were booted out of the Chan tournament, Chiyangwa, mindful of the need to look at the bigger picture and ensure continuity, has guaranteed Pasuwa’s job.
“What I can assure you is that Pasuwa’s job is safe. That is all I can say,” Chiyangwa told NewsDay Sport.
The Warriors, who squandered several opportunities, lost 1-0 to Zambia in the opening match, courtesy of a strike by veteran Zambian forward Isaac Chansa and needed to beat Mali to enhance their chances of qualification, but fell by the same scoreline, before allowing Uganda to come back from behind and steal a point at the death in the final group match after William Manondo had thrust them in the lead with a powerful drive. That result left them with just a point to show for all their efforts, having gone into the tournament as a seeded team in their group.
Pasuwa’s job had come under the spotlight, but all his concerns might have been put to rest and he can now plan for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Today he will present his report to Zifa board member responsible for development and the chairman of the High Performance Committee (HPC) in charge of all national teams, Edzai Kasinauyo with a peace of mind.
That meeting with HPC will now be just a formality after the Zifa president stated his position.
This is because the committee only makes recommendations which can either be approved or disapproved by the Zifa board.
Warriors’ striker Rodreck Mutuma admitted strikers were to blame for Zimbabwe’s early exit from the tournament after missing several opportunities.
“We can’t blame anyone, the strikers let the country down. We got numerous clear-cut chances, but we failed to score, you can’t blame the coach for that.”
Some coaches have also backed Pasuwa with former Warriors and Dynamos defender Misheck Chidzambwa, saying the coach was not to blame for the poor results, as they did not prepare well for the tournament.
The Warriors are now expected to shift their focus to the resumption of the 2017 Afcon qualifiers which start in March with a trip to Swaziland before hosting them in Harare a week later.
Zimbabwe, who defeated Malawi 2-1 and drew 1-1 with Guinea share top spot in Group L with Swaziland on four points.