Warriors' freefall continues

HARARE - The Warriors fall on the international landscape continued unabated when they plunged four places down the ladder on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola world rankings released yesterday.

The Warriors, who last saw action at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon, where they were knocked out in the group stages, are now ranked 109th in the world and 35th in Africa.

The national team could even find themselves dropping further on the ladder as they are certain to miss the next Fifa international calendar date that is due on March 20 – 28.

Zimbabwe does not have any friendly matches lined up on this date as they will only return to action in June when they begin their quest to qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals against Liberia.

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The Warriors will have to negotiate a tricky passage to be at the 2019 Afcon in Cameroon after they were pooled in Group G alongside DR Congo, who were also at this year’s finals, Congo and Liberia.

Only the group winners from the 12 pools will earn a ticket to the continental’s biggest football showcase where hosts are guaranteed a place with three best runners-up also set to qualify.

The Warriors are without a coach after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chose to terminate Kalisto Pasuwa’s contract that expired last month despite having an option for renewal for another one year.

Zifa pointed to Warriors’ dismal performance at the Afcon finals in Gabon, where they finish bottom of the group as the reason behind his sacking.

Zimbabwe showed little resistance as they were booted out of the tournament at the group stages following defeats to Senegal and Tunisia while picking up a single point in the draw against Algeria in their opening match of the tournament.

Pasuwa’s fate was effectively sealed when the Zifa High Performance Committee (HPC) comprised of Omega Sibanda, Rahman Gumbo, Moses Chunga, Innocent Chogugudza, Sunday Chidzambwa and Taurai Mangwiro, met in the capital and recommended the coach’s sacking.

Zifa are now set to start the process of hiring a new Warriors coach with a number of candidates local and foreign having been already linked to the vacant post.

Some of the names that are being linked to succeed Pasuwa include former Warriors goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who has been reported in the media as willing to occupy the hot seat while Dutchman Pieter de Jongh has also been floated around as a possible replacement.

Former Warriors coaches Chunga, Chidzambwa and Gumbo have also been linked with the post despite Zifa vice president Omega Sibanda claimed they will not be considered as there is a great deal of conflict of interest since they seat in the HPC.

Pasuwa is, however owed over $100 000 by the association as he has not been paid his salary since May 2016 despite Harare businessman Wicknell Chivayo promising to cater for coach’s welfare.

Apart from not receiving his salary for the past nine months, Pasuwa is also yet to get his $15 000 signing-on fee which was due to him when he agreed terms with Zifa last year.

Before signing the contract, Pasuwa had been working with a game-by-game basis deal for more than a year.

The former Dynamos coach is also entitled to a $20 000 bonus for guiding the Warriors to qualify for the Afcon tournament.

While Zifa remains quiet on the next coach, it appears Pasuwa could soon found himself a new job and is strongly linked with the Malawi post while locally he is being linked with several Premiership clubs.

Meanwhile, Egypt jumped up 12 spots and is now on 23rd position worldwide and sits on top of the African ranking.

The Pharaohs came second at Afcon not losing any matches except for the final match against Cameroon which ended 2-1 for the Indomitable Lions.

South American heavyweights Argentina and Brazil remain in first and second respectively, while reigning Fifa World Cup champions Germany stay third.

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