Time running out . . . as Zifa dithers on new team manager

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THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) delay in naming the new Warriors team manager could have grave consequences ahead of the forthcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Algeria.

Zimbabwe takes on the Desert Foxes in mouthwatering back-to-back Group H qualifiers next month with the first game set for Blida on the 23rd of March.

There’s not much time to regroup as the reverse fixture is set for Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on March 31.

However, the Warriors situation has been complicated by the fact that the team does not have a team manager or general coordinator since last year.

Zifa last month announced a new technical team for the Warriors with Croatian Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic coming in as the new coach.

Logarusic will be working with Joey Antipas, Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya as his assistants.
However, a team manager was not announced despite Zifa announcing the vacant post last year.

Former team manager Wellington Mpandare, who was in the position since July 2017, was also asked to reapply for the post.

This delay in naming a substantive team manager complicates matters for the Warriors ahead of these upcoming assignments.

The team manager is responsible for all the communication between the association, players and their clubs in the run-up to international matches.

Clubs must be given enough grace period notifying them that their players have been selected for national duty.
In this notice, all the necessary logistics like air tickets and itinerary must be included in order for clubs to be fully aware of the movements of their players.

Although a player will be coming for national duty, they remain the responsibility of clubs, who pay their huge salaries and medical insurance.

Zimbabwe has in recent times faced challenges in which certain key players missed crucial matches due to non-availability owing to poor communication between clubs and the association.

Zifa president Felton Kamambo was at pains to explain the delay in naming the new team manager during Logarusic’s unveiling in the capital last month.

“For the team manager we have made an advert and the HR Committee is still looking at that. I’m sure the interviews will be held very soon and the announcement will be made,” Kamambo said.

Almost four weeks later, there seems to be no movement in the search for a substantive team manager

“The association is seized with that matter. The HR process is ongoing,” Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela told the Daily News yesterday.

While there seems to be a lackadaisical approach in the Warriors’ preparations for these two crucial matches against the desert Foxes, their counterparts at the Algeria Football Federation (AFF) are not taking the game lightly.

Algeria top the group with six points after two wins over Botswana and Zambia and could qualify for the tournament if they get two wins over Zimbabwe, who are second with four points.

An AFF delegation including the Desert Foxes’ team doctor was in Bulawayo earlier this month to inspect all the facilities in the town.

The Algerians wanted to ensure their team would get the best accommodation, food and services when they would eventually arrive for the reverse fixture on March 31.

However, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) yesterday delivered a hammer blow by banning Zimbabwe from hosting any international matches due to the poor state of local stadia.

The National Sports Stadium, Mandava and Barbourfields were all deemed unable to meet Caf standards which mean Zifa has to look for an alternative venue in neighbouring countries.

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