Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zifa lay down law on expatriate coaches

By Eddie Chikamhi

Zifa technical director, Wilson Mutekede, yesterday said foreign coaches will have to pass certain requirements before they can be engaged by local football clubs.

Wilson Mutekede
Wilson Mutekede

This, according to Mutekede, is meant to ensure that they avoid the challenges which FC Platinum now face after their coach, Hendrik De Jongh, was barred from taking charge of the club’s CAF Champions League campaign.

The Dutchman cannot sit on the FC Platinum bench because he does not have the requisite qualifications, which match the CAF A coaching licence, demanded by the association.

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The Zvishavane side plunge into battle against Mozambique’s Costa do Sol next weekend.

The first leg will be played between November 27 and 29 while the second leg has been set for the period between December 5 and 7.

CAF have taken a hardline stance that only those with CAF A coaching licence, or its equivalent, are allowed to participate in inter-club competitions this year.

Coaches from other confederations, and those who were trained outside Africa, and are valid Pro licence holders, are exempted.

De Jongh holds a UEFA A coaching badge.

However, Mutekede said he could not be given exemption by CAF since his qualification is not superior to the CAF A licence offered by the confederation.

“CAF is saying, in terms of the convention of CAF coaching education, that if a foreign coach is being employed to coach elite football in one of the countries, he or she must hold coaching badges that are superior to our confederation licence.

“The ZIFA First Instance Body, which enforces club licensing, has been holding workshops on club licensing requirements and I don’t know how some of our clubs have missed out on some of the important details.

“The authorities will be sitting down to look into some of the issues, including the recruitment of foreign coaches by local clubs, to see whether they have these basic requirements.

“In fact, CAF have said that when teams employ expatriate coaches, they should go through the technical directors’ office, where the candidates are vetted before they get approval.

“This is done to enrich our football on the continent.

“It also applies to national team coaches. If (Zdravko) Logarusic did not have the Pro Licence, there was no way he was going to preside over our national team games,” said Mutekede.

The CAF rule does not only target foreign coaches. Locals, who also fail to meet the benchmarks, will not be allowed to sit on the bench.

FC Platinum’s situation got tricky when it was revealed that De Jongh’s assistant, Patrick Mandizha, also does not have the CAF A licence.

Mandizha is a holder of CAF B coaching badge.

The Zimbabwean champions, who recently parted ways with assistant coach Lizwe Sweswe a holder of CAF A licence, might not have a head coach, going into the preliminary round battles next week.

However, as has been shown in these days when head coaches are even sidelined by Covid-19, the issue of having the coach on the bench is not really a big deal.

With technology making communication easier, a coach can lead his team while sitting far away from his bench.

Only the club’s goalkeepers’ coach, Tembo Chuma, has a CAF A licence and will be allowed to sit on the bench.

Zimbabwe have 75 CAF licence holders.

“This is nothing personal. CAF have made the determination and we have to comply. This applies to all coaches that want to sit on the bench, in elite competitions like the interclub competitions, CHAN, AFCON and all high level competitions.

“I really don’t know how FC Platinum will handle this issue but they have to move with speed since they have a game coming up in a few days.

“They have to have someone with a CAF A, or superior, to take charge of the team in these competitions. CAF have taken this strong stance to promote compliance.

“Basing on CAF’s decision, it means the UEFA A that De Jongh holds is not superior to our own CAF A.

“We had a similar encounter with Botswana not long ago. Many of our CAF B holders were coaching Premiership teams but the team came when the Botswana Football Association TD called our office and told us that they were no longer going to recommend coaches with CAF B because they have had achieved a good number of CAF A holders.” Many coaches across the continent have been affected by the CAF rule. Three Nigerian clubs were left without head coaches ahead of the upcoming 2020-2021 interclub competitions. The Herald.