Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE England FA will send technical experts to the United States to fast-track Wayne Rooney’s coaching qualifications while ZIFA have barred Moses Chunga from coaching Premiership side TelOne because they say he isn’t qualified for the job.
Both Rooney and Chunga are former captains of their national teams.
It’s a striking contrast that puts into perspective the difference between a community whose sole priority is the development of their game and one whose landscape is littered by landmines, and personality battles, the pursuit of excellence becomes buried in the madness.
While the FA are prepared to spend a considerable amount of money, to ensure Rooney works as a coach, including fast-tracking his learning process, Chunga has to deal with the hurdles which his association erect in his path in his quest to try and coach in the domestic Premiership.
Chunga was last week shortlisted for the job at TelOne but the club’s leaders were advised by ZIFA technical director, Wilson Mtekede, the former Warriors skipper was ineligible for the post because he didn’t have a CAF A Licence.
Ironically, ZIFA have not been holding CAF A Licence coaching courses for the last three years, with the association’s officials claiming that changes effected to the course’s syllabus by the continent’s football governing leaders forced them to put the courses on hold.
However, the Botswana Football Association held their first CAF A Licence course in October last year, quashing this argument that the CAF syllabus had been changed, and also defying this myth, which has been created in this country, that this qualification is the be-all-and-end-all of coaching on the continent.
While Botswana have just 13 holders of the CAF A Licence badge, Zimbabwe have hundreds of holders of such badges, and the majority of them are coaching in primary and secondary schools.
Sources have said CAF officials ordered a freeze on the CAF A Licence coaching courses in Zimbabwe because of concerns that too many badges had been handed out to individuals who were not using them to develop the game and the courses had been converted into a money-making venture by local officials.
ZIFA officials have been claiming it’s all part of the CAF Club Licencing requirements but for Botswana to hold their first CAF A Coaching Licence only last October suggests the domestic game has been sold a dummy for some time when it comes to these coaching courses.
“He (Chunga) was among the candidates we were considering for the head coach post. We had not given him the job but, as part of our due diligence and screening process, we checked with ZIFA, particularly issues around the club licensing,’’ said TelOne chairman Lloyd Mtetwa.
‘‘And, it is during that process that we learnt that he has no CAF A or an exemption from ZIFA.’’
Poor Chunga will have to suffer, without a source of living, because the ZIFA technical chiefs are choosing to be rigid, when it comes to him, while they have relaxed the requirements for others, including Joey Antipas, the man they have handed the ultimate job in the country to coach the Warriors.
Antipas, just like Chunga, does not have a CAF A Licence but has been entrusted by the association, which is barring the former Warriors captain from taking a job in the domestic Premiership, to assume the post of interim coach of the Warriors.
The Chicken Inn gaffer is not the only one who has been enjoying an exemption.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach, Erol Akbay, was allowed to take charge of the Mhondoro side without a CAF A Licence while Englishman Mark Harrison also coached Harare City without a CAF A Licence.
Chunga, just like Akbay, has a coaching badge from the Netherlands which the late Steve Keshi used to secure his job as Super Eagles coach and guide his country to success in the AFCON finals in 2003.
Previously, ZIFA officials have said coaches who have won the domestic league championship can get an exemption but while Chunga did that with Gunners, his case is curiously treated differently.
While the ZIFA technical officials are throwing hurdles into Chunga’s path, their England FA counterparts are sending representatives to the United States to help their former skipper, Rooney, fast-track his coaching qualifications ahead of his arrival at Championship side Derby County as player/coach in January next year. Rooney signed an 18-month contract with Derby.
“The FA are flying out next Monday to continue them (the coaching courses), and when I’m back in England, I’ll have more time to fulfil the requirements,’’ Rooney said.
“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County, working with both the first team and academy. I’m taking the steps to get my badges completed.’’ Another former captain, Steven Gerrard, is now the coach of Scottish giants Rangers.
Although he started managing Rangers, one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland, last July, Stevie G only completed his UEFA Pro Coaching Football qualification last month.
‘‘The good thing about the FA now is they’ve changed the courses, they’ve evolved the courses and they’re more enjoyable,’’ said Gerrard.
“A lot of ex-players over the years have been put off by the amount of work you have to put in on the [coaching] courses. I think (in the past) it was almost a test on the courses and people were intimidated to fail and didn’t want to be put in the spotlight in front of all the other people that were on the course.
‘‘I know many players get to the end of their careers, get handed a thick C-licence pack and say, ‘Nah, I’m not doing that.’ That’s 70-80 caps and 600 career appearances and he is just going ‘Nah’.
‘‘I had a meeting with the FA and said since these players are earning a certain amount of caps, don’t let them go away from the game, do more to keep them involved.’’