City stand by Mr Cooper
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
HARARE City insist they are not in breach of any ZIFA directive following their decision to reassign coach Mkhuphali Masuku to the post of team manager after he fell foul of the Club Licensing regulations.
ZIFA earlier this week issued a stern warning to some clubs including Harare City who they accused of “smuggling” under-qualified personnel into their technical departments.
The Sunshine Boys were forced to restructure their coaching staff after it emerged that Masuku, who had been handed the reins at the beginning of the year, did not have the required CAF A Licence.
Masuku, a holder of a CAF B and UEFA B badges, was part of the bench as the new team manager when the Sunshine Boys opened their campaign against Black Rhinos last weekend.
The same scenario was witnessed at Maglas where Taku Shariwa, who had initially been appointed head coach was also swept aside by the same decree that requires coaches to have CAF A licences.
Shariwa still sat on the Shabanie Mine bench in his new role as technical manager, prompting ZIFA to issue the warning.
However, Harare City chairman Alois Masepe yesterday said he believed his club has done everything correctly as they were bound by the contract they had with their former coach.
“We are not playing any games because we have a head coach and an assistant who are qualified for the job.
“It was an untenable situation for everyone, but we complied and had to restructure by appointing Mike Madzivanyika head coach and hiring Philemon Mutyakureva as assistant.
“So in terms of the ZIFA Club Licensing requirements we are fully compliant in that area.
“I am not sure about the other clubs, but speaking for Harare City, our club did not smuggle anyone into the technical side.
“As far as we are concerned we filled all the necessary papers at ZIFA to the effect that Madzivanyika is the new head coach and Mutyakureva the assistant. Both have the required CAF A Licences,” said Masepe.
The Sunshine Boys were held by contractual obligations with Masuku who had been elevated to replace Moses Chunga at the helm of the Harare municipality side.
“We had to restructure to accommodate the directive from ZIFA and we even went out of our way to employ someone else to fill the vacancy that was left by Masuku.
“Masuku holds a UEFA coaching Licence and we had to sit down with him and told him that his qualification is not what is wanted at the moment.
“We had two options, either we send him home or we offer him another position in the structures. The human side said we couldn’t just throw him out without explaining things to him.
“Mind you, we have a binding contract with him and if we had taken a unilateral decision we could have ended up in the spotlight for the wrong reasons at the end of the day.
“This was something that was coming from external. We did not have control over it. So after talking to him he accepted the demotion to be team manager despite having a legitimate contract.
“The team manager does nothing more than look at the welfare of the players. This is his new role. If anything I would like to salute Masuku for understanding the situation,” said Masepe.
However, ZIFA, through their spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela, have maintained a hard-line stance and threatened to descend on the clubs found to be in breach of the directive.
Gwesela said ZIFA “are very much aware that some clubs have dodged the system by appointing unqualified coaches as team managers.”
“The gist of the CAF Club Licensing is not about suffocating clubs. Instead it is meant to equip the clubs so that they become professional. That should be seen in the first place in the employment of qualified personnel.
“Some of those clubs wrote to us informing us about the under-qualified coaches and we told them directly that we are not going to compromise on that.
“We told them they should send their coaches back to school, but it seems like they are now smuggling them back into the technical team in what we view as a dubious way of trying to dodge the system.
“Why now suddenly turning from a coach to manager? Just because ZIFA have asked for qualifications which they don’t have? As the football governing body in Zimbabwe we have the right to ask these questions.
“We are going to take corrective measures, which I cannot mention at the moment,” said Gwesela.
Shabanie Mine chairman Elias Marufu also told The Herald yesterday that they would stand by their decision to appoint Shariwa to the position of technical manager. The Zvishavane side have since replaced Shariwa with respected CAF accredited trainer Wilson Mutekede.
“I have to be very careful not to comment on that because ZIFA have not officially spoken to us concerning the issue. So we will cross the bridge when we get there.
“But what we are saying is we have appointed Mutekede as head coach and reassigned Shariwa as technical manager.
“That is the set up. We haven’t appointed an assistant coach yet because the requirements are a little heavy on us. When it’s like that you have to work with what you have,” said Marufu.