For a change, why don’t we try Kaitano Tembo?

By each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that Baltemar Brito will not retain his possition as Warriors coach.

The Brazilian mentor’s contract expired on December 31, 2023, as he was offered a short term deal by the ZIFA Normalisation Committee, when he was appointed in September.

Due to work permit issues, the Lincoln Mutasa-led admistration was forced to offer the former Chelsea assistant coach a contract which ran concurrently with his Highlanders deal —which was not renewed beyond December 31 by the Bulawayo giants.

While it might look and sound easy for the NC to retain Brito as the national team coach, it’s actually not.

There are a lot of dynamics involved in the decision, chief among them the complications and costs involved in tying down the the 71-year old mentor.

Brito might not necessarily be expensive in terms of the wage demands, but the process of securing a work permit for the soft-spoken gaffer, is not as cheap and easy as many believe.

On top of that, Mutasa and company might be caught between a rock and a hard place as far as offering Brito a long term contract is concerned.

The NC’s tenure ends in six months, meaning if they offer the national team coach a lengthy contract, they will literally be forcing the next ZIFA board to adopt the individual they would have chosen.

The complexes and costs involved in hiring Brito, which have been similarly been experienced before with other foreign coaches such as Brazilian gaffer Valinhos and Belgian mentor Tom Saintfiet, according to well-placed sources, have resulted in Mutasa and company resorting to a local coach.

Who then do they choose for the biggest coaching job in the country?

The debate can go on until the cows come home, but ultimately, against this background, a decision has to be made.

The last local coach to be in charge of the Warriors was veteran tactician Norman Mapeza.

The former Galatasaray midfielder replaced firebrand Croat Zdravko Logarušić in the Warriors dugout in September 2021 and oversaw Zimbabwe’s remaining four games in the World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign.

Mapeza’s contract was then renewed,  allowing the outspoken coach to lead Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 finals.

When Mapeza’s Warriors were rubbing shoulders with Africa’s finest at the biannual showpiece in Cameroon, Kaitano Tembo, if his posts on social media were anything to go by, was surely following with keen interest.

Tembo posted on X, formerly Twitter, heaping praise on Jordan Zemura, describing the then England-based utility player as “decent”.

Come to think of it, why don’t we try Tembo as Warriors coach for a change?

The former Warriors defender is qualified for the possition and currently unattached after being shown the exit door by DStv Premiership side Richards Bay.

While many may argue that Tembo has ‘no experience’ in international football, facts prove there are many coaches who have excelled despite that.

World Cup winning Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni began his managerial career in 2017, when he was an assistant coach at Servilla.

The Argentina Football Federation saw his potential and ropped him in the La Albiceleste technical team the very same year.

In 2018, he was appointed the Argentina U20 coach before being promoted to take charge of the senior team the same year.

Four years later, Scaloni delivered the World Cup title, to the delight of Argentinians.

While it’s true that experience does count, it is also factual that every successful coach was at some point a rookie.

The habit of recycling local coaches every now and then hinders development.

We also cannot afford to have cartels in the national team, whereby the local coach appointed will be managed by an agent whose players will constitute the majority of the Warriors squad, as was the case a few years ago.

Perhaps it’s high time we try someone new and Tembo is a gamble worth taking.

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