Zifa to call time on Pasuwa

0302-1-1-BACKPAGE 4 FEBPetros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA are set to end Callisto Pasuwa’s reign as Warriors coach amid revelations the association’s High Performance Committee has strongly recommended that the board should not renew the gaffer’s contract. Pasuwa had signed a two-year performance-based contract with ZIFA which was subject to review after the 2017 African Cup of Nations where the domestic soccer mother body had set a target of at least a quarter-final finish.

But the Warriors trooped back home with their tails between their legs on January 25 after having managed just one point from their group games against Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia.

Pasuwa announced that he was resigning a day after the Warriors bowed out. But ZIFA insisted through their vice-president Omega Sibanda that the coach remained in charge and his future would only be tabled after a review of the Warriors campaign.

That review process began in Harare yesterday when Pasuwa came face-to-face with the men — the High Performance Committee — tasked by ZIFA to evaluate his technical abilities and that of other national teams such as the Mighty Warriors and the Young Warriors.

All members of the committee chaired by Sibanda, who include vice-chairman Sunday Chidzambwa and members Masimba Chihowa, Innocent Chogugudza, Moses Chunga and Rahman Gumbo attended the meeting.

ZIFA technical director Taurai Mangwiro, who sits as an ex-offcio member, was also in attendance. Pasuwa presented his report on the Warriors campaign in Gabon as did team manager Sharif Mussa who was in charge of the players’ welfare.

But much of the attention in the deliberations, which started at 10.30am and ended shortly after 3pm, was centred on the Warriors tour of duty to Gabon, the team’s preparations and the events that characterised their camp before their departure for the Nations Cup.

The Warriors twice had an impasse with the ZIFA authorities over accommodation and later when the players demanded to be paid their outstanding bonuses and allowances.

In the midst of the impasse between ZIFA and the Warriors, the players also demanded to be paid their appearance fees before taking to the field in Gabon and boycotted a send-off dinner that had been arranged by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation.

A terse statement issued by ZIFA communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela last night did not shed much light on the meeting except to confirm that Pasuwa had met with the HPC.

“The High Performance Committee met and reviewed the performance of our national teams. “Coach Callisto Pasuwa also presented and submitted his report on the 2017 AFCON tournament and the HPC came up with recommendations.

“These recommendations will be submitted to the executive committee and they will study the report and come up with a board resolution,’’ Gwesela said. But The Herald can exclusively reveal that the HPC recommended that ZIFA should end Pasuwa’s tenure as Warriors coach and exercise their right not to extend it.

Sources close to the goings on at ZIFA said last night that the influential HPC will cite the Warriors’ results at the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia, the 2015 African Nations Championships in Rwanda and the Nations Cup finals Gabon as a basis to buttress their argument that Pasuwa “has failed to take the national team to another level’’.

“From the four major tournaments Zimbabwe has taken part in since Pasuwa took charge he managed two wins and a defeat at the 2015 COSAFA Cup, but at that competition he was represented by assistant coach Saul Chaminuka.

“In fact, from the games which he sat on the bench in the three tournaments which are the COSAFA Cup in Namibia (2016) CHAN in Rwanda (2015) and the AFCON (2017), the coach just managed one win against Seychelles in the final group game which they won 5-0.

“This, according to the HPC, shows that the team is not improving at all from each tournament which the coach has been in charge of.

“In Gabon the team managed just one draw against Algeria and overall this is deemed as clear failure to take the team to another level where Zimbabwe is not just there to make up numbers, but to compete,’’ the sources said.

The HPC, the sources also said, were also not amused with Pasuwa’s report on the Gabon campaign.

“The coach presented a nine-page report which the members of the committee felt did not fully address the technical and tactical strengths and shortcomings of the team.

“Instead the committee members felt that the report was more of a narrative that scratched the surface without giving a lot of detail,’’ the sources said.

In the report, Pasuwa reckoned that inexperience at the level of the Nations Cup and inadequate preparations had been the Warriors’ biggest undoing. The coach felt that the inexperience had contributed to the lapses in concentration in all the games especially the opening game against Algeria where they failed to close shop.

Pasuwa’s critics have blamed the coach for deciding to stick with the same defensive line even though it had become apparent with each game that the quartet of Costa Namhoinesu, Elisha Muroiwa, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Onismor Bhasera were the team’s weakest link.

It is also the coach’s belief that the Nations Cup had taught the Warriors the current trends in the game, a changed mentality towards the game and that younger players need to form the backbone of the future senior national team.

Although it was not immediately clear last night when the ZIFA board would meet to discuss the HPC’s recommendations, what is apparent is that the association’s technical experts have lost confidence in Pasuwa and there is a strong belief that the executive committee will endorse their proposal to end the former Dynamos’ coach’ tenure.

Most of the members on the ZIFA board are against the extension of Pasuwa’s contract which means the recommendations of the committee will be endorsed.

Article Source: The Herald