Zimbabweans speak on Warriors coaches Itai Masawi

Lovemore Dube, [email protected] 

THE wait for a new technical team for the Warriors ended yesterday with the appointment of Highlanders FC gaffer Baltemar Brito as head coach.

Brito who enjoys a high profile having been Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Chelsea where they bagged several pieces of silverware including the English title, was among dozens of foreign coaches who showed interest in the job.

In announcing him as head coach, two days after they requested Highlanders FC to assist by availing him for the national team, the Zifa Normalisation Committee also named Bongani Mafu and Genesis Mangombe as his assistants.

Zimbabweans have been crying loud for a coach who will be impartial and select deserving players without the influence of player agents.

Mafu parted ways with Hwange FC who had a bloated technical team with three coaches who attained Caf A Level, Nation Dube, Try Ncube and himself. Mafu and Ncube were put on indefinite suspension.

Mkhokheli Dube

He is a former Cosafa Senior Challenge winner and is not new in the Warriors set up.

Mafu was trained in Germany, the UK and Zimbabwe and has prevuiously turned mediocre players to stars with Knox Mutizwa among his success stories.

Mangombe who had worked behind the scenes over the years, eventually got his break when Dynamos fired Herbert Maruwa two months ago.

In two months he has turned around Dynamos to an exciting team that plays brilliant football in midfield and the wings. With strikers that convert chances, he can go far but is suffering from the national syndrome where there are no longer great finishers in the Premiership.

Prominent Bulawayo administrator and former Zifa Assembly member, Tawengwa Hara said he was excited about the appointments.

“I am excited about Mafu because I know his capabilities,” said Hara.

He felt the fact that Brito and Mangombe’s teams are driven by supporters at stadia, that may distort their true capabilities.

Hara was quick to say he wishes Mafu and Herbert Maruwa to take over as fulltime coaches when their tenure and that of their bosses NC expires on June 30, 2024.

Arnold Siro

“I expected Mafu and Herbert to take over as full time coaches as they are not attached,” said Hara.

Football legend Mkhokheli Dube among the city’s most decorated footballers with several championship titles with FC Platinum and Highlanders, welcomed the appointments.

“It’s a great thing that finally there is a national team coach and now the difficult part lies ahead which is to get our boys playing great football. 

“As we have witnessed at Highlanders Brito is great defensively, I’m happy with both our local coaches appointed as they both love possession based attacking football,” said Dube who is running Zebra Revolution who are at the top of the Bulawayo Province Zifa Division Two log.

Dube said he is hopeful they will build a foundation for the future. 

One of the most skilful players to play in the Premier Soccer League for Bosso and Black Rhinos, Itai Masawi said it was a wise decision to appoint the trio.

“For interim basis l think it’s the wisest choice considering that these are the coaches who know our local league in and out. I think it’s better than getting a foreign coach who might come with his own assistants who will take time to get to know the local based players. The selection is balanced in that Mafu knows more about the Southern Region players whereas Mangombe will have a better knowledge of the Northen Region,” said Masawi.

Ardent soccer fan and Division One football club administrator, Arnold Siro, is worried about local coaches.

Tawengwa Hara

“I think we need a foreign coach because these guys are being paid by their clubs and only getting allowances from the national team. We will see the majority of the players coming from their clubs,” said Siro.

New West Football Academy treasurer Vincent Vundla feels the language barrier may affect Brito.

“For Brito, the language barrier is a big setback for the national team,” Vundla said.

Bruce Munyoro a staunch Dynamos supporter based in Bulawayo said: “ In my opinion it’s not a good move because we have many coaches who have no teams who were supposed to be engaged so that Bosso and Dembare coaches concentrate on their teams.”

Former Under-20 trialist Weekly Mwale who in the first three years of Independence was with Japhet Mparutsa and Lucky Dube in the Young Warriors, commended the appointment of Brito and Mafu describing both as good coaches and admitted that he did not know much about the man who is now in charge of the Seven Million Club.

Tawengwa Hara

Mwale admitted that he was impressed with Mangombe’s good run at Dynamos since taking over.

Sibekiwe Ndlovu a women’s soccer administrator and football fan, said: “I think it’s a good thing considering that Brito is not attached to any agent so players will be chosen on merit. Genesis is a new kid on the block am sure he is going to try and prove himself that he is a good coach, the youngman has no name in football circles. Mafu has been around and his experience with the national team will come in handy.” 

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