ZIFA’S continued delay in naming a substantive team manager for the Warriors is threatening to derail the team’s preparations for the 2022 Afcon qualifiers against Algeria in November.
This comes as the Warriors’ friendly international against Malawi set for Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on October 11 is at risk of failing to take off.
The Warriors are in danger of failing to raise a team for the encounter against the Flames as a number of players that had been called up by coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic are pulling out of the squad.
Some have not been permitted to travel for the game by their clubs after Zifa sent invitation letters well after the deadline.
Zifa should not have faced some of these logistical challenges if a team manager for the Warriors was in place to coordinate the call-ups.
With the global outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19), clubs are no longer obliged to release players for international duty.
The Warriors have not had a substantive team manager since the technical team was disbanded following coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa’s resignation after the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt.
Zifa advertised for the post at the same time they began the hunt for Chidzambwa’s replacement last year.
During Loga’s unveiling as the new Warriors coach at the start of the year, the association indicated they would soon announce the new manager as well.
Former team managers Wellington Mpandare and Sharif Musa have been linked with a return to the post as well as Agent Sawu, Tinashe Nengomasha, and Clement Matawu.
In the meantime, the Zifa secretariat has been handling all national team call-ups but it’s clear there are a number of shortcomings at 53 Livingston Avenue.
Former Warriors and Mamelodi Sundowns winger Alois Bunjira believes that the lack of a team manager meant Zifa failed to communicate properly with clubs.
“I’m not really sure why the process of engaging a team manager has been so more complicated than that of engaging the coach. We should have announced the team manager when we announced the coach.
“Look, we all know how long before a match players are supposed to be called up. We all know the protocols. So why are we always getting caught offside.
“Not only because of the late request will most of the players not come, but also because there isn’t a proper plan in place that has been communicated to the players and their teams,” Bunjira told the Daily News.
The former CAPS United and Blackpool winger said Covid-19 had complicated matters and this the time Zifa should have stepped up their communication strategy.
“In these Covid-19 times, where clubs are not obliged to release their players, a comprehensive letter assuring the safety of the players should have accompanied the requests.
“In which bubble would the players stay, how secure is the bubble? What measures are being taken for the safety of the players? How will they travel to Malawi? Under what conditions? And In Malawi where would they be staying?
“All those things and more are supposed to be mentioned in order to convince the clubs and their players,” lamented Bunjira.
Football analyst Martin Changachirere said Zifa always find a way of shooting themselves in the foot due to their lackadaisical approach.
“Zifa find themselves in this mess because of the murky approach in handling pertinent issues. They have mastered the art of lurching from one crisis to another.
“A national team manager is the nerve centre of our national team set-up. How they have dithered in appointing this critical proponent of our national team is shocking to say the least,” Changachirere said.
Loga had called up 17 players for the Malawi preparatory match but those plans were thrown into disarray after Queen Park Rangers’ Macauley Bonne, Lyon’s Tino Kadewere and Zamora FC’s Martin Mapisa all pulled out of the squad.
“We have already made our list but a couple of players have informed us that they will not come because of some reasons, so we are making adjustments to see who can replace those who are not able to come,” Logarusic said.