Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
THE Sports Commission are optimistic Callisto Pasuwa’s contract talks with ZIFA will be concluded on time and they do not anticipate the usual problems with the coach when the Warriors begin their preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations soccer qualifiers against Swaziland next month.
The negotiations have failed to take off this week because key members of the ZIFA board who include association president Philip Chiyangwa, chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and chairman of the High Performance Committee Edzai Kasinauyo, who has been spearheading the dialogue, are out of the country.
However, from the previous engagements it appeared the talks had come to a dead end after the association had failed to agree with the coach, especially on critical issues to do with the duration of the contract and remuneration; and ZIFA had roped in the Sports Commission to mediate.
Sports Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena yesterday said the prospects looked positive after engaging both parties and is hoping that ZIFA will not leave it until late before they resume the talks.
“Let me make it clear that our role in this issue is only limited to helping them find each other and in the event that they are able to reach an agreement, even without our involvement, we will not interfere.
“We only came in because ZIFA had said they had reached an impasse with the coach and they wanted someone to mediate between the two parties.
“But from our discussion it showed that there is a spirit of goodwill on both sides. The matter had not been finalised before the CHAN tournament and hopefully they will use the post-CHAN period to work things out. I don’t think anything has changed.
“They all want to move on and the fact that the coach agreed to go to CHAN and that ZIFA assured him of the safety of his job all points to the fact that this will be resolved amicably,” said Nhemachena.
“When we last talked, it seemed things were moving in the positive and there were still offers and counter-offers at the confidential stage that divulging them will not be in the right spirit of confidentiality.
“It’s unfortunate the president and the CEO (of ZIFA) are out of the country (at the moment) and we are hoping they should be back by the weekend. We then expect to get more consultations on that,” said Nhemachena.
Zimbabwe are expected to resume their African Cup of Nations qualifiers with back-to-back fixtures against Swaziland later next month.
Both matches should be played inside seven days between March 23 and March 29 and the Warriors will start the first leg away as they seek to cement their place in the group.
Zimbabwe are currently second behind Swaziland after two games and have four points in the bag, the same with Sihlangu who are the surprise packages at this stage.
Nhemachena said they are not anticipating the same problems they faced last year when the Warriors coach Pasuwa twice walked away just before crucial assignments against Malawi in the opening Afcon qualifier which the Warriors won 2-1 away and again in the CHAN qualifier against the Comoros.
Pasuwa’s manager Gibson Mahachi yesterday said they are still to hear from ZIFA on the way forward.
However, ZIFA president Chiyangwa this week assured the coach of his job despite the team’s failure at the CHAN tournament.
The Warriors fell at the first hurdle at the tournament in Rwanda and the poor run has been attributed to a number of factors that also include inadequate preparations.
Mahachi said the coach has committed himself to the Warriors cause but wanted a fair deal from his paymasters.
But it emerged yesterday that the key people at ZIFA have gone to Dubai on undisclosed business and may only return tomorrow.
“We haven’t heard a word from ZIFA. They haven’t said anything since the team returned from the CHAN tournament and we are still waiting for them to communicate,” said Mahachi.