ZIFA president, Philip Chiyangwa, has made a sensational U-turn on his sentiments on ‘very good’ Warriors coach, Calisto Pasuwa, with reports that the ZIFA boss has now called on Pasuwa to be ‘professional’ in doing the ‘honourable thing’ of formally resigning.
On the morning after the Warriors’ last group B match, reports were awash that the former Dynamos coach stood to resign from the national team job hours after the humiliating 4-2 defeat to Tunisia.
Sources say there are gross tensions at ZIFA generally arising from differences in boardroom perceptions about the role of Pasuwa in the humiliating exit from AFCON 2017 and other general conceptions regarding the 46-year-old.
The ZIFA president has appeared to lodge the first official complaint regarding Pasuwa’s lack of professionalism and has asked him to ‘honorably’ follow up on his ‘decision’ to stand down as Warriors coach.
“There have been varying reports that seem to have been giving contradictory positions, but the most honorable thing is to allow Pasuwa to hand in his resignation.
“As far as I’m concerned, he [Pasuwa] resigned while the team was still in Gabon and has not come to tell me anything to the contrary.
“Pasuwa had already resigned while in Gabon and all I’m waiting for now is for him to follow the professional route and drop his resignation letter like all the other coaches who have been leaving their jobs in Gabon have been doing”, Chiyangwa is quoted in The Herald.
ZIFA risks losing a huge amount of money by terminating Pasuwa’s contract, by breach of contract. They will have to pay salaries owing on the rest of his two-year contract. If Pasuwa resigns, he will lose salaries owing on the rest of his contract.
Chiyangwa appears to be backtracking on his earlier remarks of sticking to Pasuwa, by way of changing his weight on the issue surrounding the future of the Warriors coach, to suddenly being guided by earlier ‘resignation’ comments Pasuwa reportedly made in Gabon.
Upon arrival from Gabon, Pasuwa, however, declined that he had quit, apparently making a U-turn from the resignation ‘oath’ he had reportedly made in Libreville, telling the media, “I need to speak to my agent first.”
In light of conflicting media reports on the position of Pasuwa, it will be put to Chiyangwa to respond on his discretion of one media report over another, in concluding the fate of the incumbent Warriors coach. Overall, accusations of incompetence and key questions will likely arise from critics over why the ZIFA president has chosen the asymmetrical way of following media reports in legitimizing the coach’s alleged unprofessionalism.
In a video posted on social media last week, Chiyangwa, despite the initial reports, however, had expressed solidarity with the national football team and said that in his capacity as ZIFA president, he did not have problems with the Warriors coach, as there ‘was nothing to complain about’ despite the disappointing early exit from the 2017 continental competition.
“The Warriors qualified and appeared at so many other competitions prior, and [have] appeared at AFCON all courtesy of a good coach in [Calisto] Pasuwa; who is [sic] [a] very good coach and has done extremely well for Zimbabwe under difficult circumstances.
“You showed the world that you are a good coach and we have good players and there is nothing to complain about, I am very happy with the way you played and I remain very happy,” Chiyangwa said.
The ZIFA president will now likely face criticism for initially warming up to personal sentiments about Pasuwa in the video, before apparently facing boardroom dissent.
Pasuwa’s future hangs in the balance as ZIFA now await the deliberations of the High-Performance Committee tasked with investigating and reviewing the conduct of the whole Zimbabwe national soccer team before and during the AFCON 2017 campaign in Gabon.