7 April 2018

Zimbabwe/Zambia: Pasuwa for Top Zambian Job

Photo: The Herald
Former Zimbabwe Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa.

Callisto Pasuwa, who has been out of work since leaving his post as Warriors coach after the Nations Cup finals in Gabon last year, is one of the high-profile coaches being lined up to take over at Zambian moneybags Buildcon FC after the ambitious Ndola side fired their Italian gaffer yesterday.

The 47-year-old coach has built quite an impressive profile for himself after guiding Dynamos to four straight league titles and then taking the Warriors to their first AFCON finals appearance in more than a decade.

His exploits attracted the attention of the Malawi Football Association leadership, who wanted him to take over as their country's national team coach, but negotiations between the two parties failed to end in a deal.

Pasuwa told The Herald this week, after being unveiled as one of the coaches who will scout for local talent in the landmark partnership between Shield and English champions Chelsea, he has been recharging his batteries since leaving the Warriors.

He revealed he went to Cape Town where he helped a colleague with coaching an academy, before he was approached for the assignment to be one of the coaches in the Shield/Chelsea arrangement.

However, we can also reveal today that Pasuwa is one of the high-profile coaches who are being considered to replace Italian coach Arena Guglielmo, who was shown the exit at Buildcon after only three league matches in charge of the ambitious side.

The 44-year-old Italian arrived at the club at the beginning of the year to replace Spanish gaffer Hicham Jadrane Chazouani, who is of Moroccan descent, a holder of a UEFA Pro Licence - the highest football coaching badge in Europe - and who previously coached giants like Raja Casablanca, Faith Union Sport and in Oman.

Chazouani's contract was not renewed when it ended last year, after Buildcon FC finished ninth in the championship race, 19 points behind eventual champions Zesco United, who are their city rivals, given they are also based in Ndola.

However, Chazouani's replacement, Guglielmo, lasted just three league matches at the ambitious Zambian club, with the team wielding the axe following three defeats in their first three league matches, which has left them in 19th place, second from the bottom of the table.

"Buildcon Football Club and coach Arena Guglielmo have with immediate effect parted company through a mutual separation agreement," the club said in a statement posted on their official social media site yesterday.

"Buildcon Football Club management has taken the decision in the best interest of the club. Other details will be communicated later.

"In the meantime, players are training on their own, but a decision to hire a coach will be made soon even before the end of the day."

Guglielmo arrived in Zambia with an impressive profile after successfully obtaining the FIFA AFC Pro Licence in 2016 and the UEFA coaching qualifications with the Swiss Football Association and having a successful managerial career in Burkina Faso, Benin, Morocco, Singapore, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and the Chinese Super League.

He was expected to succeed at Buildcon FC, who are an ambitious club owned by Zambian millionaire businessman Moses Mubanga, who has invested heavily into the team, including bringing in players from across the continent.

Buildcon recruited Zimbabwean players - goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, defender Patson Jaure and midfielders Nqobizitha Masuku and Devon Chafa - while highly-rated Zambian international Chisamba Lungu, who has spent the last decade playing his football in Georgia, Russia and Turkey, was brought back home for this adventure.

However, the team - which had a month-long training camp in this country - have struggled badly in their first three league matches and lost all of them to National Assembly, city rivals Zesco United and Lumwanda Radiants. They took the lead in their derby against Zesco United, but lost 1-3 in a match in which Chafa was sent off for two bookable offences and Masuku conceded a late penalty.

"Callisto is on the radar of the Zambian side, but these are still early stages and there is nothing concrete at the moment," sources told The Herald.

"Callisto is highly regarded across the region because of what he did with Dynamos and with the Warriors and there is a feeling that he can transform clubs into successful units.

"Obviously, the huge presence of the Zimbabwean contingent at the team shows that the owner has a lot of confidence in what is coming out of Zimbabwean football and the coach could be the next to join them."

Club owner, Mubanga, is the founder and chief executive of Buildcon, one of the biggest Zambian-owned and fastest growing firms with interests in construction and engineering.

Buildcon, a company based in Ndola, also has interests in real estate and last year the revenue generated by the company was estimated to have gone past $160 million, making the football-mad Mubanga quite a wealthy businessman in Zambia.

His financial muscle has seen him wooing players from Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Nigeria and Uganda and also investing in the services of coaches from Spain and Italy in a bid to turn Buildcon FC into giants in Zambian football.

Buildcon FC were promoted into the Zambian top-flight league last year and club president Mubanga, who is also the chief executive and founder of Buildcon Investments, has had to deal with reports in that country that the club was owned by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria.

"We know nothing about Dangote as earlier said, I own and sponsor the team through my construction company called Buildcon Investments," he told soka25east.com.

"Absolutely no connection at all with Dangote."

Buildcon Investments employ more than 800 people and are the company who won the tender for the construction of the Chingola/Solwezi Road in Zambia.

Mubanga's team usually had 95 percent of foreign players in their team during their debut season in the Zambian top-flight league last year and Mubanga says talent, rather than nationality, will determine who plays for his team this year as they bid to win the league title.

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