FORMER Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya is set to bounce back in the Warriors technical team set-up in a restructuring exercise that will also see former Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu return to the national team.
BY HENRY MHARA
Impeccable sources yesterday told NewsDay Sport that Ndiraya and Mafu would replace Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo as Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambga’s two assistants.
Chidzambga and the rest of the technical team members’ jobs are safe.
Both Ndiraya and Mafu have had stints with the Warriors in similar fashions before, and just like the duo they are replacing, they are currently jobless.
The source said the Zifa leadership led by Felton Kamambo was set to meet Chidzambga and Warriors manager Wellington Mupandare today, where these changes would be ratified.
“Negotiations began immediately after Felton Kamambo won the Zifa presidency and they have agreed in principle. It’s not clear if the changes were on the recommendations of Mhofu (Sunday Chidzambga) or the new Zifa chief, but the fact of the matter is that Tonderai Ndiraya and Bongani Mafu are coming in to replace Mutasa and Gumbo. Kamambo and his team will actually have a meeting with Mhofu and Mupandare tomorrow (today) over the issue,” said the source.
No official comment could be obtained yesterday, but another source said: “It appears the people at the top are not really amused with the way and style of play by the Warriors, and they feel that the technical bench needs to be bolstered by good assistants who can help Sunday. The easier way was to fire the whole technical team, but they feel that Sunday commands huge respect from players, and making a wholesale change was also going to destabilise the team.”
“The bosses are also not comfortable with the fact that Rahman is based outside the country. How does he scout for local talent anyway, and he brings unnecessary costs to Zifa to bring him in when he comes for national team assignments.”
Ndiraya has previously worked as an assistant coach in the Warriors technical team set-up, where he was one of former national team coach Norman Mapeza’s deputies.
It was that technical team that was in charge of the Warriors’ first match of the current Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign, which won a thrilling 3-0 home win over Liberia.
Mafu has worked under Chidzambga before, and was one of his assistants together with Mutasa when Zimbabwe won the Cosafa Cup in South Africa two years ago.
Ndiraya is currently unattached after he was offloaded by Ngezi Platinum Stars last season. Since leaving Ngezi, Ndiraya has reportedly attracted interest from local and regional teams. Last week, he confirmed having turned down a good offer from a foreign team, giving credence to reports that he was taking the Warriors job.
Mafu is also jobless after he was fired at Botswana Premiership side Orapa in October. The holder of a Uefa B coaching licence, Mafu is currently in Germany where he is attending a Uefa A pre-course seminar. He is expected back in the country on Saturday.
Ndiraya and Mafu are expected to start work in March when the Warriors regroup for their final Afcon group qualifier match against Congo Brazzaville.
Zimbabwe, who lead Group G in the qualifiers, need at least a point in their last match in Harare to qualify for this year’s finals.
The Afcon finals will be staged in either South Africa or Egypt in June after Cameroon was stripped of the rights to host the 24-team tournament.
A new host will be confirmed at a Caf extraordinary executive committee meeting set to take place in Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday next week.