Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE Sports Commission say they sympathise with outgoing Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa and believe he is justified to walk away from the job in frustration after spending over a year working without pay.
Pasuwa, who also doubled up as the Young Warriors coach and led them to the Africa Games in Congo (Brazzaville) by eliminating Cameroon, finally ended his turbulent relationship with cash-strapped ZIFA last week.
The gaffer’s last match was in charge of the Young Warriors and he slumped to his only defeat, in charge of both the junior and senior national teams in competitive matches, when his men crashed to a 0-3 loss at the hands of South Africa.
Preparations for that match were chaotic, with Pasuwa only joining the team a day before they flew out to South Africa while the players boycotted training last week after they were not served lunch because ZIFA had not paid the lodge where they were camped.
Pasuwa made a big impression when he led the Warriors to a flying start in the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers with his troops beating Malawi 2-1 in Blantyre, despite having arrived just a few hours before the match, by road, from Harare.
Unfortunately, it means Pasuwa will not see out the remainder of the campaign after the coach felt that he was being abused by his employers and tendered his resignation last week.
Sports Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena said sport has become a big industry, and a source of livelihood and the gaffer has every right to terminate a relationship with his employers that was not yielding any dividends in terms of payment for his services.
Nhemachena, whose organisation is this week expected to announce its preliminary report into findings by a Commission of Inquiry into the state of domestic football, said coaching the national teams was not charity work.
The Sports Commission said although they could intervene to help resolve the impasse between Pasuwa and his employer, they understood the frustrations that have forced the coach to terminate his relationship with ZIFA.
Pasuwa is the latest Warriors’ coach to have a major fallout with ZIFA over pay, with Ian Gorowa — the man he replaced — claiming that he was not paid for 10 months while he was in charge of the Warriors while Rahman Gumbo has also cried foul.
“We have always had contact with him (Pasuwa) but sometimes you have to bear with him as you can understand the unfortunate circumstances that he finds himself in,” said Nhemachena, whose organisation paid Pasuwa to enable the coach to take charge of the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Malawi.
“At times he has gone out of his way and inasmuch as we can try to convince him to carry on, I wish we could do more financially because he has a family and cannot just work for charity as we are saying, at the same time, that sport has become a source of livelihood,” Nhemachena said.
The Young Warriors set-up is likely to have a smooth transition with assistant coach Nation Dube already having been accredited as head coach for the team at the upcoming Africa Games, but whether the Hwange coach can make an impact as big as the one made by Pasuwa, remains to be seen.
It’s also unclear whether Dube will be in charge of the Warriors’ 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea in Harare next month.
The latest fallout between Pasuwa and ZIFA comes amid revelations that the association have so far received $1 050 000 from FIFA, as part of the world governing body’s Financial Assistance Programme, this year alone.
Of that chunk, $360 000 was set aside for “Men’s Competitions”, but ZIFA have failed to pay Pasuwa even a cent while also deciding against settling the $81 000 that was needed by former national team coach Valinhos for the Warriors to be included in the 2018 World Cup draw.
Even an additional $60 000 that was paid by the Premier Soccer League to try and resolve the Valinhos issue was not forwarded towards that cause, with ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube claiming that the money was used to settle a debt owed to Pandhari Lodges.
Documents obtained by The Herald show that ZIFA have received $360 000, for Men’s Competitions, which should ordinarily be taking care of issues related to the Warriors and the junior national teams, $25 000 for Youth Football and a similar amount for Women’s Football.
The association also received $90 000 for Planning and Administration and a once-off bonus from the 2014 FIFA World Cup of $550 000, bringing the payments from FIFA to $1 050 000.
It’s the first time, since Dube came into office in March 2010, that FIFA’s direct investment into the ZIFA coffers has passed the $1 million mark, in one year, as ZIFA received $500 000 last year, $250 000 in 2013, $250 000 in 2012 and $500 000 in 2011.
But such is the circus on the official FIFA website, under the FAP funds disbursements, Elliot Kasu is still retained as the ZIFA treasurer, even though he didn’t seek re-election last year and was replaced by Ben Gwarada, while the late Joseph Mabhonzo is also still retained as the Five-Aside-Football Co-ordinator.
Mabhonzo died in May last year.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said their board will meet to map the way forward.
“The board will map the way forward as they have the responsibility to appoint the national team coaches in consultation with the High Performance Committee. They will make a decision in due course as the next game against Guinea is fast approaching,” he said.