BY HENRY MHARA
ZIFA yesterday said they expect to have appointed new Warriors coach by the end of next week to replace Sunday Chidzambga who left the job in July last year.
Since then, Joey Antipas (pictured) has been the interim coach, taking charge of the team’s assignments including the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers, but his contract expired at the end of last month.
A number of coaches from all over the world have applied for the vacant job, and a source yesterday revealed that the list had been trimmed to just four.
Of the four candidates, the source said three are foreigners while Antipas is still in the running.
The local football governing body yesterday announced that its executive board will meet next week to finalise on the most suitable candidate for the job.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) wishes to advise the nation that the appointment of the senior men’s national team coach is work in progress and will be concluded soon. As the football mother body, we are fully conscious of the upcoming Warriors fixtures and the executive committee will meet on Wednesday next week to conclude the matter,” Zifa said in a statement.
“Zifa is aware of the anxiety among all our stakeholders but would like to assure everyone that the appointment will be done as soon as possible. Zifa is prepared for all national team commitments and all hands are on deck to ensure all national team assignments this year will run smoothly. Zifa would like to assure all stakeholders that all challenges currently disrupting normalcy at the mother body are being resolved. When all is settled, football in Zimbabwe is in its best moment to flourish.”
The Warriors have a very busy schedule this year, with the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and 2022 World Cup qualifiers all set to begin in the next few months.
Zimbabwe have back to back Afcon Group H qualifying matches against Algeria from March 23 to 31 before travelling to Botswana on June 9. They will complete their group campaign with a home match against Zambia on September 8.
Warriors currently occupy second position on the group standings, and will need to at least beat Botswana and Zambia to be assured of qualifying to the Afcon finals, to be staged in Cameroon next year.
Later that year, the Warriors will also be involved in the 2022 Qatar World Cup second round qualifiers which begin in October.
Zimbabwe are in Group G which also comprises giant Ghana, neighbours and old rival South Africa and Ethiopia.
The winner of the group will advance to the third and final round to join nine winners from the other groups.
The ten second round group winners play home-and-away matches over two legs with the five winners qualifying for the World Cup set for Qatar in 2022.
But before that, there is the little matter of the Chan tournament, exclusively featuring players from the respective national championships.
This tournament kicks off on April 4 in Cameroon and Zimbabwe will be making their fifth appearance at the tourney.
Meanwhile, the Young Mighty Warriors’ Under-17 Women World Cup qualifier against Botswana on Sunday at Barbourfields is free of charge.
The Young Mighty Warriors are trailing 5-0 from the first leg that was played in Gaborone two weeks ago.
“We appeal to all football fans in and around the host city to come in their numbers to support our national team. The match is free of charge so please let’s give the girl child the necessary support,” Zifa said.