By Grace Chingoma
Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas is likely to be appointed Warriors substantive coach today when the ZIFA board meets to select the national team gaffer.
A four-man shortlist was submitted to the association leadership by their technical committee earlier this month.
However, the identity of coach will only be made public after the board have communicated with the chosen gaffer, and they have agreed the finer details of the contract, including the related perks.
The ZIFA board will meet today to formally receive a presentation from their technical and development sub-committee.
The shortlisted candidates are Antipas, former Highlanders coach Erol Akbay, German Michael Weiss and Leicester City International Academy coach Alistair Heath.
Sources at ZIFA said yesterday the board were being cautious not to reveal the identity of the coach before agreeing terms with him.
But The Herald understands Antipas is set to be retained, this time as a full-time employee of the association.
Last year, the two-time championship-winning coach was in charge of the Warriors on an interim basis.
That arrangement ended on December 31 last year. ZIFA have made it clear they will appoint a full-time gaffer because of the congested programme for the Warriors this season.
The senior national team will be in action, in defining matches, in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the 2022 World Cup qualifying battles.
The Warriors resume the Nations Cup qualifers in March with a tough showdown against African champions Algeria.
The home-based Warriors are also set for the CHAN finals in Morroco in April.
Chicken Inn recently extended Antipas’ contract.
The club feel they could have won the league championship, last season, had their coach not been deployed to the national team duties.
This means the Gamecocks, who finished second in the championship race, want their coach to only focus on the club’s commitments.
However, Antipas has already said he is open to going for the Warriors job, should ZIFA decide he is the best man for the job.
He will have to terminate his deal with the Gamecocks, should that happen, and sources yesterday said he is set to get the thumbs-up from the ZIFA board.
ZIFA, who have serious financial challenges, cannot go for some of the best coaches — capable of taking the Warriors an extra mile — who have been linked with the job.
Reports that the Football Association of Zambia will have to pay Serbian gaffer, Micho, who has also been linked with the Warriors job, US$600 000 in two years, puts ZIFA’s challenges into perspective.
Micho, who has proved himself on the continent, including guiding Uganda to their first AFCON finals appearance since 1978 just three years ago, was a firm favourite among local fans.
He even spoke about his love for the Warriors and revealed he had a masterplan that could take the team to the World Cup.
However, Micho is now set to coach Chipolopolo.
ZIFA leaders cannot take chances given the country was barred from taking part in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after the association failed to honour their commitment to pay Brazilian gaffer Valinhos.
The Brazilian, who coached the Warriors during the failed 2010 AFCON qualifiers, took his case to FIFA after ZIFA failed to pay him. Today’s ZIFA board indaba is also expected to touch on a host of issues, including the bid to have CAF’s ban on the National Sports Stadium reversed.
The competitions committee, which will make their submissions before the board, are expected to make a presentation on next weekend’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier at Barbourfields.
They will also discuss the 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers.
ZIFA are trying to lobby the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, as well as CAF, to have the ban on the National Sports Stadium reversed. The association already believe that the high-profile nature of the match against African champions Algeria in March, means only the giant stadium can accommodate the bumper expected crowd to watch the game.
The country’s biggest stadium, which has suffered from years of neglect by those tasked with maintaining it, was banned from hosting international matches last year.
ZIFA believe, working closely with the Government, they can satisfy minimum requirements from the long list they got from CAF. The board, headed by ZIFA president Felton Kamambo, acting vice president Philemon Machana and executive committee members Farai Jere, Sugar Chagonda, Bryton Malandule and Barbra Chikosi, will also hear reports from a number of committees.
The Referees’ Committee and Marketing Committee are set to present their reports for consideration by the board.
Malandule, who heads the Referees’ Committee, is expected to advise the board about the proposed match fees for referees this coming season.
But, it’s the identity of the Warriors’ coach that is expected to dominate the indaba. The Herald