Football

Whither after Wada?

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
IN A way, Wedson Nyirenda did his employers a favour by tendering in his resignation as Chipolopolo coach last Thursday.By failing to back their man when news of applications from foreign coaches were reported to be flooding Football House, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) had clearly indicated that Wada had overstayed his welcome.
Wada must feel a certain sense of betrayal.
Instead of telling him outright that he was not wanted, FAZ opted to send him to Spain for a ninth-month training course.
In the meantime, applications for the national team coaching job continued being received at Football House.
Was there a vacancy? No! So why the applications?
FAZ should have handled the Wada issue a little differently.
It is like a company board of directors receiving applications for the position of managing director when there is no vacancy.
This means that the board of directors has given a signal to those applying for the job that the office-holder is on his way out.
This is not the way Wada, who is reported to be heading to South African side Baroka FC, intended to leave his job as national team coach.
But he can be proud of his record; in 26 games, he won 12, drew seven and equally lost seven.
Like it or not, he pushed above his weight considering that the Chipolopolo had been in free fall since winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
His record cannot be that inferior when placed among the local coaches who have drilled the national team in the past.
But now that Wada is out, who will replace him?
FAZ has the task of finding a coach with better credentials than Wada’s.
Already, Government, which funds the majority of the FAZ budget, including that of the coach, wants a local coach as a replacement.
“As Government, we had a policy decision that going forward in all sports disciplines we should use our local resource and we wanted to use football as a leading sport. That is why we were very adamant as Government for FAZ to engage a foreign coach for the senior national team.
“It is FAZ’s mandate to recruit a coach and we are just financiers. If they bring us a coach, as financiers, we may have our own issues and if those issues will be addressed by FAZ, then definitely we will be able to engage the coach. We are open to discussion with FAZ if there will be any reservations,” Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Moses Mawere told journalists in Lusaka on Monday.
From the list of applications already received by FAZ, none are from a local coach.
FAZ has its work cut out to find a replacement with the 2019 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia in Windhoek due in September.
The cast of local coaches currently available do not breed much confidence.
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm



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