THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board is expected to decide today on the appointment of a substantive coach for the senior national soccer team.
Reports have tipped current caretaker coach Norman Mapeza and Namibia coach Tom Saintfiet as the frontrunners to take over the Warriors’ hot seat.
Acting Zifa Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed that the board will finalise the appointment that has drawn speculation from all sections of society.
A committee that includes Zifa board members Benedict Moyo, Methembe Ndlovu, Premier Soccer League chairman, Twine Phiri, Zifa vice president Kenny Marange and the duo of Solomon Mugavazi and Gift Banda, had been tasked with interviewing candidates.
They were mandated with recommending coaches for the vacant posts.
“The committee will present its recommendations to the board that will either appoint the recommended people or make their own choice,” said Mashingaidze.
“No appointment has yet been made, because that can only be done by the board after looking at the recommendations of the technical committee.
“That issue will dominate discussion but there are other items on the agenda which include the national under-15 team which has been invited for a four-nation tournament in Botswana, the Asia inquiry and a review of the trip to Liberia by the Warriors.
“The board will also look at the 2012 campaign as a whole to see how we can get players on time, how we can adequately prepare and how we can give the players the best incentives to achieve favourable results.”
The board advertised the job of national team coach more than a month ago and since the applicants were publicised, soccer fans have speculated on who would take over the seat that was vacated by Sunday Chidzambwa earlier this year.
Mapeza has been the caretaker coach for the past few months and drew with Liberia in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
If the notion that the Zifa leadership preferred a foreign coach was a secret, then it was not well kept. That alone thrust Saintfiet into an advantage as only he and Marc Duvillard, a Belgian, were short-listed.
And with Duvillard having had a go at it before but failed to deliver, Zifa are not likely to recycle him.
But word going round among those claiming to have inside information is that Saintfiet will be given the job and he will be assisted by Mapeza.
The Brave Warriors coach has been unsettled as Namibia coach, having applied for at least three jobs this year alone after making failed attempts of bossing Nigeria and Zambia.
Mapeza has been the local favourite after proving his mettle with successful stints at Caps United where he assisted Charles Mhlauri and at Monomotapa where he guided the team to the championship.
Zimbabwe plays their next AFCON qualifier against Cape Verde at home on October 10 and the new coach is expected to start preparations for the important game where a win will keep the campaign well on track.