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Brito's Warriors plan

by Staff reporter
08 Oct 2023 at 07:49hrs | Views
Baltemar Brito, the 71-year-old coach, is facing doubts about his tactical abilities, particularly considering Highlanders' recent performance. However, he remains resolute in his belief that he can contribute positively to Zimbabwean football.

Highlanders' fortunes took a downturn since August 28 when they suffered their first defeat of the season to reigning champions FC Platinum. Despite this, Brito's coaching abilities earned him the role of head coach for the senior national team, the Warriors, as deemed by the ZIFA Normalisation Committee.

Brito's tenure with the Warriors began with a defeat, albeit on penalties, against Botswana's Zebras in a hastily arranged Independence Cup match in Gaborone. The Warriors lost the invitational match 3-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Just 24 hours later, Brito returned to his role with Highlanders but suffered another defeat in a penalty shootout. This time, Highlanders were eliminated from the Chibuku Super Cup on penalties by CAPS United after a 2-2 tie in regulation time at Barbourfields Stadium.

As the FIFA international break approaches, Brito naturally becomes the focus of attention. Several countries have already confirmed international friendly fixtures during this window, which is the last opportunity for African teams to prepare before the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Unfortunately for Brito, Zimbabwe's opponents for the FIFA break have yet to be finalized by the Normalisation Committee. However, he is determined not to rest on his laurels and has expressed his intention to personally communicate with key Warriors players, including Marvelous Nakamba of Luton Town and Marshall Munetsi of Stade Reims. The process of engaging other foreign-based players has already begun.

Brito stated, "Our plan is to try and create the strongest squad possible. I think we are on the right pathway; we are on the right track, it's a question of time, it's a process, we believe we will do something good for Zimbabwe football."

With the shelving of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the focus will now shift to the World Cup qualifiers next month. Zimbabwe is in Group C, which includes Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Rwanda, and Lesotho.

Brito has openly expressed his eagerness to observe and assess some of the foreign-based players in action before finalizing the World Cup squad. Zimbabwe boasts numerous players in various leagues across South Africa, Europe, and the Americas, including Tino Kadewere, Munashe Garananga, Teenage Hadebe, Terrence Dzvukamanja, and others.

"If it's possible, we will go there (Europe and South Africa) to watch some games. The idea is to make the strongest squad possible ahead of the World Cup qualifiers," Brito emphasized.

His time at Highlanders has provided him with a valuable opportunity to evaluate players in the domestic Premiership. The recent match against Botswana allowed him to introduce his football philosophy to players like Tanaka Shandirwa, Peter Muduhwa, Obriel Chirinda, Fortune Binzi, Walter Musona, and Donald Mudadi.

"As national team coaches, we should be paying attention to all the players who can play. So, we will work on it, try and assess more players. From this, we will make the choice for the World Cup qualifications," Brito explained.

Brito will lead the Warriors until at least June 2024, with assistance from Genesis Mangombe and Bongani Mafu. Initially, they will oversee four World Cup qualifiers before their tenure ends on June 30, 2024. However, if FIFA decides to extend the term of Lincoln Mutasa's committee, Brito's time with the Warriors may be extended accordingly.

Brito is enthusiastic about the potential for improvement in Zimbabwean football, stating, "We are working with the Normalisation Committee to create a good standard so that we show a bigger picture of Zimbabwean football. I am very happy with the people I have found, and they are working with me well."

Source - The Sunday Mail