Sources at Zifa said the US-based Mhlauri has indicated his willingness to coach the national team after Zifa failed to secure a work permit for Belgian Tom Saintfiet who was appointed the team coach in October.
The sources said Zifa was now working overtime to secure sponsorship to pay the former Caps United coach.
When the immigration department declined to issue Saintfiet with a work permit, Zifa decided to headhunt for a new local coach. Mhlauri emerged as the hot favourite to take over the job among the 13-member board.
He held talks with the Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri and Zifa president Cuthbert Dube this week where he outlined to them pre-conditions for him to return from the US where he is based.
Mhlauri is likely to cost Zifa as much as Saintfiet or more, as he has reportedly made a series of demands in addition to the US$10 000 monthly salary.
Saintfiet was hired on a US$8 000 monthly salary.
“That he is willing to come back is no longer the issue now; it is his demands that have left Zifa running around to find extra help from the corporate world,” said the source. “He (Mhlauri) had problems accessing some of his outstanding dues from the last time he coached the team so he wants a guarantee that he will be paid in time and in full.”
Zifa acting chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze declined to comment on Mhlauri’s demands, but said the association was working hard to fill the coaching post.
“Some work is being done on the ground so that the coach issue can be finalised and we move forward,” said Mashingaidze.
The source said that the mother body had been promised funding by some companies once they put their house in order.
Mhlauri is believed to be reluctant to bring his family back along with him, a move that would likely see Zifa pay for his regular visits to the US.
Zifa would also have to rent a house and provide a vehicle for him.
If Zifa fails to secure Mhlauri, sources said, the association has lined up Rahman Gumbo and Ian Gorowa as the other choices.
The choice of Gumbo, however, has exposed Zifa’s hypocrisy as the coach does not meet Zifa’s set criteria for the job.
The Zifa technical committee set about looking for a coach who has a Level 4 qualification, which Gumbo does not have. He is currently doing a Caf C Licence course at Prince Edward School after it emerged that it is now a requirement to have the qualification for one to practice in Botswana.
Norman Mapeza, who was at one time the favourite to take up the coaching post, is more qualified than Gumbo, as the former is a holder of a Caf C License and is currently waiting for results of his Level 4 course.