Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Pasuwa being lined up for attachment at SuperSport

By Noel Munzabwa in MANZINI, Swaziland

WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa could be on his way for an attachment at South African Premiership side SuperSport United as part of his technical preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals, where the Zimbabweans will be the only Southern African country at the continent’s football showcase.

Warriors coach Kallisto Pasuwa (left) discusses some tactics with his assistants Saul Chaminuka and Nation Dube (centre) during a training session at the National Sports Stadium’s B Arena last week — Picture by Kudakwashe Huda
Warriors coach Kallisto Pasuwa (left) discusses some tactics with his assistants Saul Chaminuka and Nation Dube (centre) during a training session at the National Sports Stadium’s B Arena — Picture by Kudakwashe Huda

Pasuwa inspired the Warriors to the return to Nations Cup finals, after a 10-year absence, with his team qualifying for the football festival with a game to spare after dominating their group and only losing one match when qualification for Gabon had already been secured.

The Warriors won three of their first five games, beating Malawi home and away, while thrashing Swaziland in Harare 4-0 with a stunning second half performance, and with West African powerhouse Guinea losing their two games against Sihlangu, Pasuwa and his men secured their ticket to Gabon with a comfortable three-point cushion.

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By the time the Warriors finally lost a game in the group, going down 0-1 to Guinea in Conakry, their place to Gabon had already been secured and Pasuwa could even afford to rest his talisman Khama Billiat, who has played a lot of football since the 2015/ 2016 South African Premiership got underway in August last year.

The Warriors’ impressive show in the qualifiers has fuelled expectations that Pasuwa and his men could do even better at the 2017 Nations Cup finals than the classes of 2004 and 2006, who crashed out in the group stages.

Serbian coach, Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, who masterminded Uganda’s success in the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers as the Cranes ended 38 years of waiting to play at the AFCON finals, recently suggested that the Warriors could do very well in Gabon.

There have been fears that Pasuwa, who will be coaching for the first time at the Nations Cup finals, could be overwhelmed by the tactical battles that go with tournament football and there have been calls for ZIFA to help the coach boost his technical capacity now that he will be taking on the big boys of the continent.

Now, a football agent closer to SuperSport United’s Scottish coach, Stuart Baxter, one of the best coaches in the South African Premiership, is trying to organise an attachment for Pasuwa to spend some time at SuperSport United on attachment as part of the process to boost his technical qualities.

ZIFA, though, are yet to provide their seal of approval to the arrangement.

Dingane Maduna, the Swazi football agent, said Pasuwa had already shown he could be interested in spending some time at SuperSport United on attachment ahead of the 2017 Nations Cup finals.

“Basically Stuart has said he is prepared to assist Pasuwa, let alone to prepare a presentation to (the) Zimbabwe coaches,” Maduna told The Herald.

“This will benefit soccer in Zimbabwe.

“So we are looking at issues like accommodation in Pretoria, meals and transport.

“We wouldn’t want a national coach like Pasuwa being accommodated by a player (because) remember (Kingstone) Nkhatha (who plays for SuperSport) could have been an option but for ethical reasons we don’t want Pasuwa to be compromised.”

Maduna said the attachment, should it be approved by ZIFA, would last for about two weeks.

Veteran coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa, the first gaffer to lead Zimbabwe to the Nations Cup finals, suggested recently that Pasuwa could need to boost his backroom staff which, currently, is made up of Saul Chaminuka and Mkhupali Masuku.

Chidzambwa, a member of the ZIFA High-Performance Team, said a coach with previous knowledge of having coached at the Nations Cup finals could help Pasuwa and the Warriors make the most of the exciting talent in the team, which some commentators believe was good enough to make a big impression in Gabon.

“Callisto is a very good coach, he is doing well but the only advice I can give him is I think he must involve someone who has been there before because he has never been there,” Chidzambwa told our sister radio station, Star FM.

“Even if it’s a player who is now coaching, he must rope him into the technical team and take it from there.”

Chidzambwa ruled himself out of that job saying “I am too old to do that”.

But Pasuwa, in a response carried by our sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail, said he was more concerned about getting adequate preparations for his men.

“I am more concerned with the Warriors’ preparations which need to be adequate so that we compete favourably in Gabon and make Zimbabweans happy,” he said.

“We are one of 16 teams in the tournament, so we should be ready to face anyone. We didn’t qualify to go and avoid any teams.”

The last time the Warriors qualified for the Nations Cup finals in 2004 and 2006, they crashed out in the group stages, winning one game in both tournaments. The Herald