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Brito tipped for Warriors top job

Zifa normalisation committee member Rosemary Mugadza yesterday told NewsDay Sport that they were almost through with the selection exercise after conducting interviews for prospective coaches early this week.

HIGHLANDERS coach Baltemar Brito has emerged favourite to land the vacant Warriors job, with a formal announcement set for today.

Zifa normalisation committee member Rosemary Mugadza yesterday told NewsDay Sport that they were almost through with the selection exercise after conducting interviews for prospective coaches early this week.

The normalisation committee last month called for applications to fill in the posts for the senior men’s and women’s national  teams as well as all the junior teams.

But Mugadza said they are currently focussed on filling up the Warriors and Mighty Warriors positions whose teams have immediate assignments.

The Warriors have to play in the Chan and World Cup qualifiers next month and in November, respectively, while the Mighty Warriors will play in the Cosafa Championships early next month.

“We should be done with the selection process on Thursday (today),” Mugadza said.

“For now we are focusing on the senior teams only who have immediate assignments,” the former Mighty Warriors captain and coach said.

It, however, emerged yesterday that Brito is most likely going to be announced the Warriors head coach, with indications suggesting that the committee had started negotiations with Highlanders so that the Brazilian could double up with the national team job.

Former Mighty Warriors coaches Sthetheliwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda and Shadreck Mlauzi are tipped to return to the senior women’s football team's fold.

Brito is one of the locally-based coaches who publicly showed his interest in the Warriors coaching job.

A letter purportedly authored by the Zifa Normalisation Committee to Highlanders where they are requesting for Brito's services circulated on social media yesterday.

The letter, full of spelling and grammatical errors, was signed off by Mugadza, who has, however, dismissed it as fake.

Zifa Normalisation Committee chairperson Lincoln Mutasa on Tuesday also hinted that they were approaching some local clubs to be given permission to talk to their coaches.

“For the senior men’s national team, we are looking at five people, while for the women’s team we were considering three candidates. We looked at the initial shortlist and further reduced it after considering some of the qualifications,” Mutasa told NewsDay Sport on Tuesday.

“The process is ongoing, we are trying to move fast, but in some cases we have to approach individuals and then we have to negotiate with their clubs.”

Mutasa said they received dozens of applications after advertising coaching posts for junior national teams for men and women as well as senior national teams’ posts.

He said Zifa might offer the new coach a year’s contract which runs concurrently with his committee’s tenure.

“We are telling these guys that we can only offer a contract that runs concurrently with the Normalisation Committee’s tenure. Look, we don’t want to impose a coach on the new board, but all the same we are trying to get a good coach who can continue even after the new board is in place.”

The Warriors have been without a coach since Norman Mapeza took the Warriors to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2021.

Zimbabwe was later banned by Fifa over government interference. The suspension was lifted this year and a Normalisation Committee was appointed to run the sport for a year before a new board can be elected.

Zimbabwe have tough World Cup qualifiers coming up in November as they return from the football wilderness. They will play Rwanda away from home before they host Nigeria in group encounters.

They are in the same group with Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Rwanda and Lesotho and only the top team at the end of the round robin qualifiers will automatically land a ticket to the finals in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

Zimbabwe do not have a Caf approved stadium to host the Nigeria match at the moment and Zifa chose to stage the Nigeria match in Francistown, Botswana ahead of a South African option.

With the next Fifa international window coming next month, the coach will have little time to assess his players before the World Cup qualifiers, if Zifa fail to organise friendly matches during that period.

The new coach’s first mission will be to guide the locally-based Warriors in the Chan tournament qualifiers against yet-to-be-named opponents.

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