By Tadious Manyepo
LEICESTER City’s International Academy head coach Alistair Heath is one of the highly-regarded technical gurus who have applied for the Warriors coaching job.
The British gaffer, a holder of a UEFA A License, currently leads the English Premiership’s Thailand-based international academy.
And after five years in charge of the nursery, which has produced so many high-profile players dotted across the globe and a brief stint managing the South Korean Under-23 side, Heath says he needs other challenges in Africa. Heath was recently signed by the ever-growing local sports promotion company, Athletes Sphere Management (ASM).
ASM chief executive and Zimbabwe rugby legend Gerald Sibanda yesterday confirmed Heath is indeed one of the coaches who have applied for the Warriors job.
Sibanda said Heath was keen to help Zimbabwean football grow and will be in the country to draw a long-term plan for the game’s growth this year.
“I can confirm that we have signed Leicester City International Academy coach Alistair Heath in our stable. He has always dreamt of working in Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe.
“He has applied for the Warriors coaching job. Hopefully, he will be considered as he has shown keen interest in working here,” he said.
“But, if he is not considered for the Warriors job, then we are willing to have him help in the junior structures.”
Sibanda said his organisation will engage ZIFA on the possible landmark deal that will see Alistair pen a long-term development deal.
He said having Alistair in the country will also open doors for more Zimbabwean players to play abroad since he has the right connections.
Speaking from his base yesterday, Heath said Zimbabwe had vast potential and can become an African football powerhouse if the right fundamentals are put in place.
“Zimbabwe has many opportunities to expand. The country has a lot of potential. When you look at them, you have that feeling that Zimbabwe should be doing a lot better, looking at the athletes that they have amongst other factors,” said Heath.
“There is only a need to instil a winning mentality onto individuals, change the dynamics of football individual per individual. There is massive potential in the country.
“It is all about the players’ mentality, just understanding what it takes to win and realise full potential.
“I have experience working in different countries, I have the passion to develop players and passionate players in Zimbabwe really excite me.
“They have the drive, the ambition, the desire and enthusiasm and we need to fine-tune them mentally to have that winning mentality.
“I have worked with so many players at both junior and senior level who are doing wonders for their national teams and I hope to do the same for Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said, if concerted efforts were made, the Warriors would eventually qualify for the World Cup.
“I am ready to help Zimbabwe attain their goals. There is need to develop a culture of play in the country. A long-term plan to develop the game needs to be drafted and if that is implemented, the country will be regulars at major tournaments including the World Cup.” The Herald