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Date: 12 December 2018

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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News Headlines

Full list of Warriors job applicants

[Posted 18 Aug 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Pfister has applied to coach Warriors of Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Football Association announced yesterday the full list of local and foreign coaches who have applied for the Warriors coach position.

Announcing the list at a press conference yesterday, Bennedict Moyo, ZIFA board member for competitions revealed that Otto Pfister, the veteran German coach, is one of the foreign applicants. Steven Keshi, former Nigerian captain and Togo coach is surprisingly not one of the listed foreign applicants, contrary to earlier indications that he was interested in the job.

A total of 13 coaches have applied for the Warriors job, and only 5 of the applicants are locals. The notable names among the local applicants include current caretaker coach Norman Mapeza and his assistant, Joey Antipas who coaches Motor Action.

The surprise revelation was that of the name of Pfister, a 73-year old German national who has made his name coaching outside his motherland, and has never coached in his own native Germany.

Pfister has coached mostly in Switzerland and Africa. The best known Swiss teams he coached in his career include St Galen and Basle football clubs, topflight teams in the Swiss topflight league.

In Africa, the veteran coach is best remembered for two things. In 1992, Pfister was named African coach of the year. Before the start of the 2006, surprise package Togo, fired their coach Keshi, and Pfister was the popular name on the list of candidates to take over on a short-notice.

Pfister eventually emerged as the successful candidate to coach the Sparrow Hawks, but resigned days before the world cup kicked off. Following pressure from the players, the Togo FA reinstated him and he proceeded to coach the team at the World Cup that year. 

The former Togo coach has also coached national teams of Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Egyptian club Zamalek. 

Given his experience, Pfister is not likely to be a cheap option for ZIFA, who are forever broke and often struggle to pay coaching and playing staff. Moyo, stated confidently during the press conference yesterday that ZIFA will be able to meet the costs of hiring a new coach to be appointed. Moyo did not however clarify if ZIFA will be able to meet the costs of employing a foreign coach like Pfister.

Another foreign name that apperas to have interested ZIFA of late is that of Serbian  coach Zoran Djordjevic. The ZIFA board member Moyo, described the Serbian as having "very impressive" coaching record in the Zimbabwean media yesterday.

It is really questionable what coaching credentials are so impressive about Djordjevic. He has just left a post as Bangladesh national team coach. The best achievement he had there was to win a regional Asian tournament just like our own version of the COSAFA tournament.

The best teams, whether clubs or national teams which Djordjevic has coached are all in Asia, and the countries where has coached in such as Bangladesh,Yemen and India are really not soccer powerhouses in the world. It will be very interesting if by "very impressive" coaching record Moyo was referring to the Serbian's role in Asia, unless the former Mighty Warriors' coach knows something which others do not know.  

Moyo struggled to explain to the journalists who had gathered at ZIFA house why the association had to only embark on the search for a substantive coach as late as August when qualifiers are due to commence in September. The general feeling among journalists at the press conference was that the most reasonable thing ZIFA should have done was to allow Mapeza to continue as a coach, given his experience and demonstrable ability.

There are also suspicions among journalists that what has prevented the awarding of the position to Mapeza was the Southern-Northern regions divide in local football. It is suspected that some ZIFA board members from the Southern region prefer the Warriors coach to come from that region instead of the Northern region from where the previous coach Chidzambwa hails from.

It is alleged that the strong divide in the naional game was the reason ZIFA Director of Coaching Nelson Matongerere was reportedly instructed by someone in the ZIFA board to make overtures to a very talented coach Rahman Gumbo to try and lure him to apply for the Warriors coach. 

This sickening Ndebele-Shona divide in Zimbabwean soccer threatens to derail development of the national game. During the Dream-Team days, there were complaints from the largely Shona section that the Warriors was full of players from the Southern region. 

All this unnecessary debate was started despite the fact that there were no better players during that period from the northern region than the likes of Peter, Madinda and Adam Ndlovu, Agent Sawu, Willard Khumalo, Mercedes Sibanda, Henry Mckop, Rahman Gumbo or Benjamin Nkonjera.

Even more disturbing scenes were witnessed at Barbourfields stadium during one COSAFA match a few years ago, when Warriors fans cheered the injury of Energy Murambadoro of CAPS United then, as they anticipated the introduction of Tapuwa Kapini (Highlanders then). There were boos when Murambadoro resumed playing thereafter.

On merit, if Rahman Gumbo was available to coach the Warriors, he would have been a great choice for national team coach. His record in Malawi, Botswana and Zimbabwe speaks for itself.

Mapeza has also made a strong case for appointment. It is logical that ZIFA should have just offered the position to Mapeza who has proved his ability by winning the championship with Monomotapa two seasons ago. In 2008, the young coach demonstrated his understanding of local players by leading a team of locals to a convincing 3-1 victory over Malawi in a dead rubber final game of the 2010 afcon qualifiers.

ZIFA is widely expected to struggle to fund the salary package of a foreign coach such as Pfister, despite the assurances from Moyo that the resources are now available. Just last week, the same Moyo was calling upon Zimbabweans to chip in and assist with the buying of tickets for the foreign-based players. Where have the resources to fund the stay and salary of a foreign coach suddenly come from?

Or is the advertisement and call for applications for Warriors coach only a ploy to push Mapeza to perform well against Liberia so that when he produces a great result, then he will be rewarded with a substantive appointment?

Well, if thats the strategy, then it is a very funny and out-dated way of doing business.

Planning is essential to good performance of a team. It is undesirable for a team to begin a campaign with one coach, and then a totally different coach takes over after only one game. Will it not confuse things bringing in a new technical team after October. When will a foreign coach find time to understand the local game?

The above are some of the questions which should occupy ZIFA as they embark on their belated search for a new coach for the Warriors.

A team led by business-minded people like Cuthbert Dube ad former coaches like Mthembe Ndlovu and Moyo was expected to have done better than they have done thus far with respect to the search for a coach, and preparations of the Warriors  team for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers.

Warriors coach applicants ( August 2010)

Local applicants   Norman Mapeza, Cosmos Zulu, Joey Antipas, Philip Zulu and Tongai Dodo

Foreign applicants Milos Hrstic (Croatia),Tom Saintfiet (Belgium), Tomislan Obbradovic (Croatia), Otto Pfister (Germany), Marc Duvillard (Switzerland), Zoran Djordjevic (Serbia), Peter Butler (United Kingdom).

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Ezekiel Charika posted comment on 19-Aug-2010 10:53:34

We cannot comment much on what ZIFA is doing, let them select the best candidate for us. WHat I think will be of concern to the nation is that we must not hurridly replace the caretaker coach, the new coach should take time working with the warriors before taking up the driving seat.

The timing for this exercise is just not good.

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