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‘Pasuwa still in charge’

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WARRIORS coach, Kalisto Pasuwa, is still in charge contrary to reports that he had resigned in the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s failed football campaign at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.

BY henry mhara

CRESTFALLEN  . . . Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa upon arrival from Gabon yesterday
CRESTFALLEN . . . Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa upon arrival from Gabon yesterday

The Warriors arrived back home yesterday afternoon after their exit from the Afcon finals, where they managed to hold Algeria 2-2 in their first group game before going down 2-0 and 4-2 to Senegal and Tunisia respectively.

There were reports that Pasuwa had stepped down following the team’s loss to Tunisia on Monday night.

However, Pasuwa’s manager, Gibson Mahachi, yesterday said his client, who still has a year on his two-year contract, had not tendered a resignation letter.

Zifa also said they were “surprised” by the reports and insisted the former Dynamos gaffer is still in charge of the team.

“Who has Pasuwa’s resignation letter? Can that person (who wrote the story) produce the letter from Pasuwa? I don’t know where this is coming from because he hasn’t resigned,” Mahachi said, when asked about the reports.

“He has a contract and it has terms, which need to be followed. He signed a two-year contract, which is reviewed after every year. The first year lapses on February 1 and we expect to meet Zifa for the review, where they will tell us if they are happy with what Pasuwa has done or not.

“I wouldn’t want to discuss much about the contract, but the highlight or key result area was for Pasuwa to qualify the Warriors to the Afcon finals. He achieved that, but like I said, it’s up to the association now.”

Zifa vice-president, Omega Sibanda, who was also in Gabon with the team, said Pasuwa is still the Warriors coach.

“I was with him (in Gabon). He never told me about any resignation, but I was surprised to read it in the Press,” he said.

Pasuwa was quoted extensively in the State media, saying he was stepping down following the team’s early exit.

On arrival at Harare International Airport yesterday, Pasuwa refused to discuss his future.

He said, while he takes full responsibility for the team’s poor showing, there were other factors that contributed as well.

“I would like to thank everybody who made this possible. We tried our best, but unfortunately we couldn’t go past the group stage. We did learn some lessons on how we fared and in future this would help the youngsters who would be still in the team. They would do better when we go there next time,” he said.

The Warriors conceded goals early in all their three matches at the Afcon.

“It was a matter of concentration in the first minutes of the match. If you make a mistake you are punished, that’s football at this higher level. We were making mistakes and being punished from those mistakes. From the goals we conceded, we would be in possession of the ball, lose it and get punished,” Pasuwa said.

Asked if he would take the blame for the mistakes made by his players that resulted in the team conceding goals in almost similar fashion, he said: “Yes, of course, as the coach I don’t need to blame the players. I will take it (the blame)”.

Pasuwa, who has come under criticism from a section of Warriors fans, who want him to step down, however, argued the performance could have been better had the team prepared well.

Pasuwa had asked Zifa for the team to camp in Chiredzi or Kariba and play at least two friendly matches against North African opponents to prepare the team.

However, that failed to materialise, with Zifa citing financial constraints.

Instead, the Warriors played friendly matches against Zambia, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

It was only in the matches against Tanzania and Cameroon that Pasuwa had a full-strength squad.

“One problem we have is we tend to look at the end product. We need to look at how we prepared ourselves for the tournament. This was football at its highest level, where you need to put everything in place before you go and play,” Pasuwa said.

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