By Eddie Chikamhi
Former Warriors fitness trainer, Gerald Maguranyanga, says the Warriors are paying a huge price for the game’s leaders’ obsession with cheaper coaches from Europe who do not add value to the game.
The home-based Warriors, who participated at the CHAN finals, crashed out at the first hurdle last week after losing all their three games.
This was the country’s worst performance at the tournament since its inception in 2009.
The team was under the guidance of Croatian gaffer, Zdravko Logarusic, who became the first foreign coach to guide the Warriors at a major football tournament.
Before Loga, the Warriors had been guided by local coaches at the AFCON or CHAN finals.
These include Sunday Chidzambwa, the first coach to take them to the AFCON finals, Charles Mhlauri and Callisto Pasuwa.
Chidzambwa was also the coach who took the Warriors to their first CHAN finals in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009.
Loga is yet to win a match in the six games he has been in charge.
The Croat is expected to lead Zimbabwe’s quest in their AFCON and World Cup qualification matches later this year.
And, Maguranyanga, believes the nation should brace for the worst.
“I think the problem that we are making as Zimbabwe is that we are going for the cheap options, without looking at the quality or value that person is going to bring to our football,’’ he said.
“We are just going for what is available, as long as he is coming from Europe. But, it generally does not work like that.
“Of course, we have had some good coaches from Europe in the past, the likes of Clemence Westerhof, Reinhard Fabisch, Eddie May and even Dieter Pagels.
“I have worked with most of these guys and I can tell you they had good qualifications and they would prove on the field of play.
“I speak with passion, and emotion, because of my experience with the national team. I have been there, on-and-off, over a period of 15 years.
“For now, I think, we should stop hiring European coaches, especially those of questionable backgrounds, just because they are the ones we can afford.
“If we don’t have the money, it’s better to revert to the local coaches, pay them what you are currently paying these European guys, and support them.
“We have to do that until we get to a position where we can hire a good foreign coach of repute.’’
Maguranyanga said the current coaching set-up in charge of the Warriors was a big joke.
“If you ask me about the current set-up, I will frankly tell you that we are joking as a nation that claims football is our number one sport,’’ he said.
“No top coach from Europe would come here in Africa to be paid US$7 000 (a month).
“For that amount, you can get the desperate ones
“If we are serious about hiring a quality coach from Europe, then ZIFA should be prepared to pay more, probably in excess of US$50 000, support him, and then hold him accountable for the results.
“As long as they don’t pay, they will continue getting the poor ones.’’
The former national team fitness trainer feels the Warriors have not progressed under Loga, who was appointed to the hot seat, last year.
Logac has presided over six games, including a friendly against Malawi, but is yet to win a match.
The Warriors have lost four and drawn two matches under his tutelage.
Maguranyanga said the recent performance at the CHAN finals, where Zimbabwe lost all three matches, was unacceptable.
“The local coaches have done better at the CHAN tournament and we expected an improvement.
“We cannot have the nation getting embarrassed at a tournament like CHAN.
“For me, Sunday Chidzambwa or Norman Mapeza would have done better with this team.
“We have the coaches with so much potential — Charles Mhlauri, Tonderai Ndiraya, Joey Antipas, Callisto Pasuwa, and even Ian Gorowa — who reached the semi-finals of the CHAN tournament in 2014.
“These guys also need to be motivated by paying them well and availing all the support.
“But, ZIFA would rather pay a foreigner US$7 000 but the locals who were there before him were getting less than half that amount.
“It’s strange how we don’t value our own,” said Maguranyanga.
Zambia has also turned to a foreign coach, Serbian gaffer Milutin “Micho’’ Sredojevic, who earns US$25 000 per month.
He is paid in part by the Football Association of Zambia, who contribute US$15 000 a month, with the Zambian government chipping in with an additional US$10 000.
Maguranyanga said Zimbabwe would do well if they adopted a similar approach.
However, the fitness guru believes the lack of transparency, and accountability at ZIFA, has halted possible intervention from the Government and the corporate sponsors.
“Mind you football can be the barometer for people’s happiness,’’ he said. ‘’Right now people are already depressed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We get a good opportunity to lift the mood of the people at CHAN but we get embarrassed there, which worsens the already bad situation.
“Football is our national sport if we take everything into perspective.
“Government should be investing a lot into the game and the corporate world will follow suit.
“But, apart from the other challenges facing the nation, they are also probably worried by how football is run.
“It does not inspire confidence and if my brother Felton Kamambo, and crew, are not capable, I humbly ask them to resign for the sake of the game.” The Herald