IT IS that time again when the nation turns its collective eyes towards the vacant position of one of the biggest jobs in the land — coach of the national football team.
By Enock Muchinjo
The return of Sunday Chidzambwa for a second tenure as Warriors coach was a mixed bag, as evidenced by his decent record in qualifying for the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations and then the forgettable campaign at the finals in Egypt.
But lest we forget that this was an Afcon in which quite a few weak sides also qualified for the continent’s premier football showpiece. One of these, Madagascar, hitherto unknown as a serious international football team, even dared to dream and shocked a DRC side that had hammed Zimbabwe 4-0 as the Indian Ocean islanders marched into the quarter-finals in their maiden appearance.
And then after a 2019 Afcon tournament that turned sour and ended in ignominious fashion for Zimbabwe, you perhaps feel that those that questioned the wisdom or rehiring Chidzambwa in the first place were right after all in arguing that we needed to go for fresh ideas and energy — both clearly not the best description of the former national team captain.
Chidzambwa is gone now, again, and likely never to come back this time around.
One of the dominant topics in the post-Egypt discourse is who should be the next Warriors coach.
Names have been thrown around at will, both foreign and local.
To me, expatriate or Zimbabwean, the person should be a highly-driven individual, somebody who respects processes as much as results.
It will be nice to qualify for both the next Nations Cup and our first World Cup and indeed sports is a result-driven business.
But with a footballing nation whose confidence has been shaken to the core after the nightmare of Egypt, as well as a team and administration facing a battle to win over disillusioned fans, what can Zifa ask of the new coach without appearing silly?
Results are important, but the new coach must be one coming to help Zimbabwean football in the long run, to get the fundamentals of our game right.
It is fair to say that at the moment this country does not have a recognised pattern of play, a culture that identifies with us as Zimbabweans.
As such, the new coach must be a highly qualified individual, a hardworking and energetic figure able to do much more than selecting and coaching the national team.
He should also be able to work closely with the clubs and academies to help set up structures and coaching philosophy to shape our players and formulate our way of play.
It then makes life much easier for any coach, when the right systems are in place, to then mentor a team while equipped with full knowledge of not only the weaknesses and strengths of the individual players, but also of the nation.
When you have a clear vision or desire — which in this instance is to play football in Zimbabwe with a recognisable structure — things like setting targets and demanding results becomes much more sensible because they are backed by a process.
You reap what you sow.