'Chiyangwa surprised me'

FORMER Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa admits National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz) president Philip Chiyangwa has surprised many since voted into office last year.

Chidzambwa says he was one of the few who doubted Chiyangwa’s credentials to lead the country’s football to greatness. Before entering mainstream football administration, the Harare businessman and Zanu PF politician had limited experience in the sector.

Chiyangwa’s only association with the beautiful game was when he used to sponsor his farm side which used to play in the fourth tier of local football.

There was a lot resistance from many circles regarding Chiyangwa’s candidature but in the end, he successfully won the bid to control the association. 

After watching the Warriors seal their qualification for Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be held in Gabon next year, Chidzambwa had a change of heart.

He did not take time in stabilising the soiled football association which saw the Mighty Warriors qualify for the Olympic Games in Brazil while the Warriors qualified for the Afcon finals.

Zimbabwe sailed through to the Afcon finals with a 3-0 win over Malawi to end 10 years of pain for the country’s football crazy fans.   

The time the Warriors had qualified for Africa’s flagship football tournament was back in 2006 when Charles Mhlauri-led the side to the finals held in Egypt.

Interestingly, Chidzambwa, who won several titles as Dynamos coach, was also the coach when Zimbabwe qualified for their first ever Afcon finals back in 2004.

“Personally, Chiyangwa has surprised me,” Chidzambwa told the Weekend Post.

“He has done very well. I think he deserves credit for the manner in which he has turned our game. I think in a long time there is some form of stability for our local football.

“The amount of work he has put together with his sponsor Wicknell Chivayo is good for our football. I hope more people will come and partner them to keep on improve our game.

“He should, however, keep on doing the good work, especially now that we are at the Afcon. I think as the association they should ensure that we have adequate preparation in organising friendly matches for the team.”

Chidzambwa had also a word of advice for Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa and his charges.

“I think Pasuwa has enough time to prepare. He has got a very good team but I personally feel he needs to look around to beef up his defence,” Chidzambwa said.

“The Africa Cup of Nations is a difficult tournament and it needs strong players — physically and mentally. Without taking away anything from his current defence, I think Pasuwa needs more players in the mould of Costa Nhamoinesu.

“Upfront, I think we are okay. I think in Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat we have one of the best forwards in many years. But they still need to keep on working hard.” —Godknows Matarutse

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