Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa dumped the senior national team yesterday in his latest fallout with ZIFA over unpaid dues after the association failed to honour their promise to pay him by June 30.
Pasuwa hasn’t been paid for the 10 months that he has been in charge of the Warriors and Young Warriors and his management team struck a deal with ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube in Harare last month.
Dube promised Pasuwa’s manager, Gibson Mahachi, that the gaffer’s outstanding dues would be settled by June 30 and after that a contract would then be thrashed out between the two parties for the coach to continue in his role as Warriors head coach.
Mahachi told The Herald yesterday that Pasuwa was left with no option but to leave camp and go home, a day before the Warriors are scheduled to leave for their CHAN assignment in the Comoros, with his future with the team now uncertain.
“If you remember very well, we had a meeting with the ZIFA president Dr Dube and he asked us to give them time so that they look for the financial resources and they promised that the coach will be paid by June 30,” said Mahachi.
“Today (yesterday) is July 2 and no payment has been done and he has a family that also expected that something was coming their way for their food and other issues when we were told that something will be paid by June 30.
“Now, without even a cent being paid to him, how do we expect him to be in the right frame of mind to take care of a very important assignment like leading the national team when his family is suffering right now?
“I tried to get in touch with Dr Dube and (Jonathan) Mashingaidze (ZIFA chief executive) today (yesterday), but no one was picking up my calls and I was left with no option, but to tell the coach that he should just go back home.
“I talked to John Phiri (ZIFA board member) and he said he was at Dr Dube’s house and for the whole day he had been waiting for him, but he didn’t come.
“Maybe, they have other options and another coach will be in charge or they will come back to us tomorrow (today), since the team is expected to leave in the evening, and something will be done to resolve the issue. I really don’t know.”
Pasuwa conducted the team’s training session earlier in the day before dumping the team’s camp later in the day.
Last month, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa was forced to intervene and persuade Pasuwa to join the Warriors after the coach dumped the national team over unpaid dues.
Dube was reported to be preparing to fly to Canada to attend the FIFA Women World Cup final between the United States and Japan.
It was not immediately clear as to who will be the acting ZIFA president in his absence as his deputy Omega Sibanda remains suspended.
Sources revealed yesterday that Malawi, who are still pursuing Pasuwa to be their national coach, will be encouraged by the latest turn of events, while a number of local teams have been asking the gaffer to come and lead their technical departments.
Yesterday, Sports Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture that while they have been trying to assist ZIFA through the ministry, they didn’t have the funds right now to confirm whether they will charter a plane to the Comoros.
“Right now we don’t have anything tangible in terms of resources on our hands for the trip to the Comoros,” said Nhemachena.
“ZIFA came to the Sport and Recreation Commission indicating that they do not have resources to travel for the Comoros match.
“They indicated that what they have managed to put in place is the accommodation for the team when they get to Comoros.
“They managed to do that on a reciprocal basis because they looked after the Comoros team when they came here. So, the Comoros are going to accommodate them there.
“When it comes to the other issues, firstly the air travel, they would have required about $52 000 or thereabouts to go on a scheduled flight, but the challenge with the scheduled flight is that it may take much longer to get there and at the same time there is a possibility of the team travelling in batches because there is only one aircraft travelling to Comoros, from Kenya, I think.
“So, they came up with the option of a charter and we then presented this to our Ministry. The Minister indicated that he would want to facilitate that and the Ministry officials are working with the Ministry of Finance to try and get that done.
“In the meantime, we have also advertised through radio and television and the newspapers to say if there are those fans who would want to go to the Comoros there are seats that are available.
“We actually indicated that there are 70 seats available and we were hoping that if these seats are taken up it would also mean that we have some resources that we would then channel towards the upkeep of the players.
“The unfortunate thing is that we got the request rather late and, obviously, for people to mobilise resources in a short space of time might be a serious challenge.”
Even the technical team was in the dark about their travel arrangements, with manager Shariff Mussa saying they have just been told that they would leave this evening.
Meanwhile, a caption of a picture published in The Herald on Wednesday showing ZIFA board members — Phiri, Fungai Chihuri and Mashingaidze — at Mandava watching FC Platinum play a home match wrongly said that the game in question was a league tie against Buffaloes.
Instead, ZIFA have advised us that the match was FC Platinum’s tie against Kenyan side Sofapaka in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Association said their leaders were not there to seek financial support for the Warriors’ Comoros trip.