By Eddie Chikamhi
FORMER Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa has revealed that he did not bother applying for the vacant Zimbabwe national team coaching post because he is still owed huge amounts of money by ZIFA.
The 49-year-old, who led Zimbabwe to the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon, has been regarded as a one of the candidates likely to take over the reins of the national football team following the expiry of his contract with Malawian giants Nyasa Big Bullets today.
However, Pasuwa has apparently turned his back for now. The coach wants ZIFA to settle the outstanding debts from his previous engagement as Warriors coach.
He was owed in excess of US$100 000 when he left the position two years ago, and his manager Gibson Mahachi confirmed at the weekend the coach is still to get his dues.
“Get me right, no Zimbabwean coach can say no to the call to serve his country.
“Pasuwa feels the same, and if the call comes today, he is ready, but for now there are certain outstanding things that need to be sorted out first.
“Pasuwa did his best with the national team under challenging conditions. He always puts his country first. Of course, just like anyone else, he wasn’t a perfect individual. But it’s public knowledge he wasn’t paid his monies in his last job.
“We have written to ZIFA several times, but we got no response. That is bad business practice.
“I think ZIFA should show respect to their local coaches by paying them.
“If you owe someone, you should show commitment and seriousness to service the debt at least by coming up with a payment plan and communicating clearly with the creditor,” said Mahachi.
Joey Antipas, who served as interim coach from September, is probably the only local coach that has applied for the job.
Dutch coach Erol Akaby, who has coached local sides Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum before, German Hans Michael Weiss and 51-year-old Spanish coach Marquez Roca are the other candidates.
Norman Mapeza, who was also tipped to line up for the Warriors job, has not expressed interest.
Mapeza is currently enjoying his tenure at Chippa United in South Africa and has issues with ZIFA as he is also owed substantial amounts by the national association from his time as the Warriors coach.
The former Zimbabwe international has breathed new life into the struggling South African Premiership side Chippa United by lifting them from the bottom of the table to 10th place halfway through the season.
Pasuwa, on the other hand, is basking in the glory of another personal milestone after winning the Malawian Super League title back-to-back with Nyasa Big Bullets.
“The feat meant the former Dynamos player and coach has added to the four straight titles that he won during his days at DeMbare between 2011 and 2014.
In total, Pasuwa has now amassed six straight league titles under his belt and Bullets are believed to be working on a new contract for him.
“There is nothing that we have discussed with Bullets yet.
“We should be able to engage them in the coming days. The coach needs a bit of rest after a long season. He has done well in the last two seasons and I believe they are still interested to keep him. But I will work with what the coach wants.
“Generally speaking, Bullets have been very good to him. The players, the executive and the supporters as well were all behind his efforts, and what more can you ask for from a coach if he delivers two titles in a row?
Bullets official Albert Chigoga told the Malawian Nation newspaper that Pasuwa “will not go anywhere”. Chigoga said they were impressed by Pasuwa’s league title defence and the successful team-building project which saw a number of youngsters such as Charles Petro, Nixon Nyasulu, Peter Banda, Chimwemwe Idana and Hassan Kajoke excelling in their debut season.
“We did not set any targets for him (Pasuwa). The priority was the team-building project which has been a huge success as the predominantly youthful squad performed beyond everyone’s expectation to win the league.
“So, we saw this coming. We have a good coach and we do not want to lose him. The (contract renewal negotiation) process has already started, he is very happy at Bullets,” he said.
Chigoga also told the Malawi Nation that contracts for Pasuwa’s backroom staff, including his assistant Peter Mponda, will also be reviewed soon.
“The arrangement is that the head coach’s contract should be in line with his backroom staff in terms of the period,” he said. The Herald