Grace Chingoma Harare Bureau
DYNAMOS have handed Portuguese coach, Paulo Jorge Silva, a three-year contract and challenged the gaffer to turn the Glamour Boys into the champions of Zimbabwe football and help make them become a force on the continent again. Silva becomes the first foreign DeMbare coach in more than a decade and breaks the club’s tradition of hiring only their former sons to guide the country’s biggest and most successful football club.
The Glamour Boys last hired a foreign coach in March 2003 when the late Zambian gaffer Keegan Mumba took charge and turned them into a very competitive side which won the highest number of games (15) in a league championship race that ended in controversy.
Mumba’s DeMbare finished in third place, three points behind eventual winners AmaZulu, but the Glamour Boys cried foul after they were deducted three points for using striker Edmore Mufema in a 2-1 win over Lancashire Steel on August 2 that year while his status was still the subject of a dispute involving Motor Action.
The Zambian coach helped Dynamos win the Zifa Unity Cup, then the flagship knockout football tournament in the country, that year.
Dutchman Clemens Westerhof, who guided Nigeria to success in the 1994 African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia and took them within a few minutes of beating eventual finalists, Italy, in the second round of the ’94 World Cup in the United States, also coached DeMbare at the turn of the millennium.
Silva arrives at DeMbare under pressure to deliver the title after the Glamour Boys’ fans had started to believe that the championship belonged to their trophy cabinet following four years in which they conquered the domestic football scene under the guidance of Callisto Pasuwa.
The deal between the Dynamos leadership and the Portuguese mentor was struck on Friday night and it’s very likely that the coach will be introduced to the players today when the club begins its pre-season training for this campaign.
He is also set to be presented to the club’s board of governors and will be assisted by Lloyd Mutasa, a former midfielder and coach at the club, while goalkeepers’ coach Gift “Umbro” Muzadzi and team manager Richard “Nyoka” Chihoro have been retained as part of the backroom staff.
There is no place, though, for Tonderai Ndiraya, who took over from David Mandigora midway through the season last year and failed to guide DeMbare in their search for a fifth straight league title, something that is yet to be done by a club on the domestic football scene.
Silva is expected to return home this week while his new employers sort out his work permit and, yesterday, Dynamos president, Kenny Mubaiwa, revealed that all was now set for the Portuguese to take over.
“The Portuguese is now our head coach and we gave him a three-year contract which is performance-based and we put that clause into the contract,” said Mubaiwa.
“We’re now left with processing his paper- work and we’ll be applying for the permit this week. So he’s leaving the country and will only be back when he’s issued with a permit.
“We told him that 2015 wasn’t a good year for us. Before, we had been champions four times in a row, so we want to reclaim our spot and he agreed with us that he has read about the rich profile of the club.
“Our pre-season should start tomorrow (today) and I’m sure the new coach will give his assistants the programme or something like that to use in his absence.”
Mubaiwa also revealed that they have signed midfielder Dominic Mukandi from bitter rivals Caps United.
“We wanted four players and we’ve already secured two, Dominic Mukandi and Tichaona Chipunza. We’re left with one midfielder who plays on the left and one central striker.
“But the technical team indicated that they’ll first assess the players that are in the squad after the departure of such players like Ronald Chitiyo and Blessing Moyo before they can decide who to sign and boost their squad,” said Mubaiwa.
There is a likelihood that DeMbare could recruit three foreign players, two Nigerians and a Zambian, to boost their ranks.
The expatriate coach is believed to have charmed his employers with his vision.