The Mercury

One last hurdle between Igesund and Zambia job

- Njabulo Ngidi

GORDON Igesund looks set to be confirmed as the coach of the Zambian national team soon, with the appointmen­t now in the hands of their Ministry of Sport. The former Bafana Bafana coach, who won four league titles with four different clubs, is said to have impressed during interviews.

The Football Associatio­n of Zambia (FAZ) interviewe­d Igesund along with Frenchman Sebastien Desabre, who has coached four clubs on the continent – Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosas to Cameroon’s Cotonsport, Tunisia’s Esperance and JS Saoura of Algeria. But Desabre didn’t last long in most of those stints.

The third candidate was Swiss-born Raoul Savoy, who was in charge of Gambia when Bafana Bafana played them in Durban at the start of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

“The choice was quite unanimous,” said FAZ general secretary Ponga Liwewe. “We have selected a candidate. Now it’s up to the government to make it official.

“Once we had found our man, we took the recommenda­tion to the ministry. Because we had a lot of activities with the elections happening (on August 11), which were concluded about a week ago with the inaugurati­on of the president, those discussion­s sort of slowed down. Now that everything is up and running, we are hoping to finalise who that candidate will be. I know that there has been a lot of speculatio­n, but it’s difficult for me as the general secretary of the associatio­n to announce a name before that person who has been selected has signed a contract.”

But if Igesund gets the nod, he will have to move away from relying on teams that are heavy on experience.

That’s how he won his four league titles and then quickly left, because he struggles to sustain that success when he has to rebuild. Chipolopol­o are in a rebuilding phase, which they didn’t do well after winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

That culminated in them failing to make the showpiece five years later. The next challenge is qualifying for the World Cup for the first time, which will be hard in a group with countries who have been there before in Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria.

“We understand our position when you look at the group because our three opponents have been to the last two World Cups,” Liwewe said.

“We are the only one in our group who hasn’t played in a World Cup before.

“We want to have someone who can mould a team, a young team. A team whose strengths aren’t on an individual player, but who can play collective­ly and compete.”

The next Zambian coach will be assisted by former Kaizer Chiefs striker Wedson Nyirenda, who is in charge of the team in the interim. But there is room for the coach to come with his own assistant, as Nyirenda will be the first assistant.

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