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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Zimbabwe targeting local coach

Firdose Moonda

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has confirmed that it will appoint a new coach before February and that only local candidates will be considered for the post.

• Moonda: Mazembe continues African legacy

"This nonsense about a foreign coach must come to an end," ZIFA President Cuthburt Dube, said. "We would rather give the job to a local coach and send them to countries like England, Germany and Brazil to enhance their skills."

Zimbabwe have been without a permanent coach since Belgian Tom Saintfeit was ordered out of the country by immigration officials in October because he had an invalid work permit.

Saintfeit was poached from Namibia but was deported from Zimbabwe shortly after his appointment and never took charge of the team for an international game. Norman Mapeza was appointed caretaker coach but quit in November and was replaced by Madinda Ndlovo who remains in charge until a permanent coach is appointed.

ZIFA are reportedly targeting former coach Charles Mhlauri who is based in the United States and is currently coaching at the Lightning Soccer Club in New Hampshire and Botswana based Rahman Gumbo.

Mhlauri, who took the team to the 2004 and 2006 African Cup of Nations, is apparently keen on accepting the post, provided he is given a $10,000 salary and that his package be advanced. According to Zimbabwe's Newsday, Mhlauri is still owed money by ZIFA after his previous coaching stint.

While ZIFA's top brass are involved in assessing applications for a new coach, they are also embroiled in a match-fixing scandal, which saw former ZIFA chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya fired in August.

Rushwaya was charged and found guilty of being involved in bribery and corruption during Zimbabwe's tour of Thailand and Malaysia in December 2009. The national team lost 6-0 to Syria and 3-0 to Thailand and a number of players, including captain, Method Mwanjali confessed to accepting bribes.

Rushwaya was also found guilty of facilitating a trip to Malaysia by the Monomatopa Club who played in two friendlies, which they lost, posing as the Zimbabwe national team. She was also involved in organising the pre-World Cup friendly against Brazil in Harare, which ZIFA reportedly made no money out of because the Samba Kings demanded an appearance fee and the Swiss-based company who helped set up the match was given all the gate takings. Rushwaya was fired on the basis of a ZIFA report which detailed the above claims.

The country's sports minister, David Coltart, called for a police investigation into the report last week because of its serious implications of fraud and corruption. The authorities have not become involved yet, according to Dube who said the investigation may be widened to include previous tours of South East Asia, including one in 2007.

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