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Antipas ready to take over as Warriors coach

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2017 at 05:44hrs | Views

SOUTH Africa-based former Warriors coach Joey Antipas has kept the door open for a possible return to the Zimbabwe national team fold if a right offer comes up.

Antipas' name has been thrown around among possible replacements for Callisto Pasuwa, who left the post last month after his contract was not extended.

The Warriors technical bench is currently vacant and, with only three months before the team gets down to serious business in the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, ZIFA should not waste time in putting up the coaching structures.

Zimbabwe have been drawn in the same group with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Congo-Brazzaville and will play their first match at home against the Liberians in June.

The Warriors are also due to take part in the CHAN 2018 qualifiers in July.

But while ZIFA have maintained they will advertise the job, speculation has already gone into overdrive with sources at ZIFA confiding with The Herald that Antipas is among the favourites to land the post.

Ngezi Platinum's Tonderai Ndiraya is being considered as one of the assistants.

There have been many names, like legendary former Warriors goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who have been linked to the job with the Jungleman saying he is ready for another dance with the team as its coach.

The Canada-based Grobbelaar had a cameo role as the Warriors' head coach in the '90s.

Antipas yesterday told The Herald that there has not been any engagement between him and the association, but was ready to consider the challenge if approached with a satisfactory offer.

The two-time Castle Lager championship winner did not rule out a possible return to the Warriors hot seat in the future, but insisted his primary focus at the moment is at AmaZulu where he is contracted.

"I know nothing, I have heard nothing and I say nothing.

"Who is linking me the Warriors job? It's news to me.

"(But) Zimbabwe is my home and if offered, it would depend on some issues," said Antipas.

The 57-year-old has had stints with the Warriors in the past and was at one time considered as a replacement for Pasuwa when the ex-Warriors coach was axed by ZIFA before the decision was reversed.

Zimbabwe are still trying to recover from the disappointing performance of the Warriors at the recent AFCON tournament in Gabon, where they fell in the group stages.

The new Warriors coach, however, will have to beat the bar set by his predecessor — Pasuwa — who managed to get the country back to the finals of the tournament after 11 years of waiting.

But Antipas, who joined the South Africa National First Division side AmaZulu in July last year, said he is currently pre-occupied with the ambitious project to help the Durban outfit get promotion back to the Absa Premier Soccer League before he thinks about the Warriors.

AmaZulu are seventh in the race and are 11 points behind leaders Thanda Royal Zulu with 12 games remaining in the season.

They may not realise their dream this season, but the authorities at the club have not made their ambition a secret.

They have faith in the Zimbabwean coach despite facing mixed fortunes in his first season.

The former Castle Lager Coach of the Year has won two championships in his coaching career.

He lifted the title with Motor Action in 2010 and then repeated the feat with another modest side Chicken Inn five years later.

Antipas spent time honing his coaching skills at European clubs like Borussia Dortmund of Germany and Danish outfit Brondby as part of his studies between 2012 and 2013.

Source - the herald