Zimpapers Sport

WARRIORS fans have blasted the ZIFA Normalisation Committee for not taking the 2026 World Cup qualification seriously after they invited applications for the coach’s job a month before matches resume.

Zimbabwe are currently fifth in the six-team Group C of the African qualifiers.

The Warriors have two points, from as many matches, and trail leaders Rwanda by two points.

The opening round of two matches took place in November last year and Zimbabwe were under the guidance of caretaker coach Baltemar Brito.

His contract expired on December 31 and was not renewed amid speculation ZIFA were not amused by his damning report of events in Rwanda where the matches against the hosts and Nigeria were staged.

Brito highlighted the chaos that characterized camp and pre-match preparations saying these impacted results more than the players’ performances on match days.

But despite Brito leaving his post at the end of last year, ZIFA did not appoint his replacement ahead of the resumption of qualifiers.

This resulted in the national association turning to Norman Mapeza for the Four-Nations tournament in Malawi in March.

Mapeza was appointed on March 12, less than a week before the tournament that ran between March 18-26.

Zimbabwe face Lesotho on Matchday 3 on June 3 and then visit South Africa for Matchday 4 on June 10.

A month before the crucial assignments, ZIFA are just starting the process of selecting Brito’s successor.

Zifa invited applications on Tuesday, stating that the successful candidate would lead the senior’s men’s national team and direct the programme and preparations for the team for various tournaments, including the 2025 AFCON qualifiers, the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and COSAFA tournaments.

Football fans have bombarded social media, including ZIFA’s own platforms, criticising the manner in which the association were treating the Warriors.

One said:

“We are left with a month before the World Cup qualifiers and you are looking for a coach now? What were you doing since January or after the Malawi tournament? You are so disappointing.”

Another said:

“Any coach that you will appoint in less than a week or two before June matches will have excuses for failing to qualify. You had Brito, who had established a clear path for success and rapport with players. Then you confused things with the belated engagement of Mapeza for that tourney.”

Another added:

“Time is no longer on our side. The only honourable thing you can do is to re-appoint Brito if we have any ambitions to qualify for the World Cup. Brito is quite familiar with the players. Give it to him.”


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