Former Warriors coach Charles Mhlauri has poured water on flames raging for him to return to the Warriors fold despite having been sounded out by Zifa.
The two-time title-winning coach instead threw his full weight behind the Rahman Gumbo-led technical department to take the Warriors to the next level.
Mhlauri, who is currently director of coaching at Lightning Soccer Club in the United States, was approached by the current Zifa board with a view to taking over the reins in the Warriors dugout, but turned down the offer.
Speaking from his US base, Mhlauri conceded that he had been contacted by Zifa, but was not in a position to discuss details of his engagements with the media.
“Out of respect, I think the discussions that I have held with Zifa will remain private and confidential. I respect the Zifa board and it will be unprofessional for me to discuss my communications with Zifa in the media,’’ he said.
The second coach to take the Warriors to the Afcon finals after Sunday Chidzambwa said leading one’s national team is an honour and privilege which excites every coach, but at the moment he believed the team is in safe hands with “Rush’’.
“Coaching the national team is every coach’s dream. When the Zimbabweans gave me that profound honour and support, I was really humbled. I will never turn my back on my country. (But) at the moment I think Rahman, Peter (Ndlovu) and David (Mandigora) deserve our support to achieve,” Mhlauri told The Sunday Mail.
“I think Rahman will be the first to tell you he has not accomplished his mandate, which is a qualification to South Africa 2013. A mandate should never be a single or two games but the ultimate qualification and winning. I also congratulate them for winning under very difficult conditions,” he added.
The former Caps United boss also denied the fact that “money” was blocking his return to the Warriors.
“It’s not all about money in football. I never came into football to make money. I have founded and sponsored teams such as AmaZulu and Phinda Mzala in Bulawayo and even in Harare Twine Phiri will tell you how much we spent sleepless nights trying to cut costs and move Caps United forward.
“I coached the national team for three years and at times using my personal resources and equipment. I will never regret having served my country when national duty called.”
Mhlauri, according to Zifa sources, has been on the Zifa radar for some time and those rumours were further flamed last week following reports that Zifa had secured a sponsor to take care of the senior men’s team coach.
The multiple award-winning gaffer advised local football stakeholders to pull together and in one direction if the nation is to succeed in major football tournaments.
“Football development is not an event; it is a process. We need to all unite for the sake of our game and Zifa, as the custodians of the game, need our support. All former players, coaches, supporters, media and administrators must play a positive role for the game. National team business must go beyond the touchline duties and instill a culture that prides junior development and coach education,” Mhlauri said.
On his American sojourn, Mhlauri said he has no complaints so far, adding that if anything it had taught him a number of things.
“It has been a great experience for me to work with some of the finest coaches in the world. I am indebted to the Zimbabweans that supported me and helped me amass so much experience and qualifications. I want to say the country invested in me, but to some extent it’s the US that is benefitting. I have since produced a coaching manual that has been adopted by my club and our development academy is thriving.
“This was a concept that I borrowed in Germany and applied even at Caps United which helped produce the youngsters such as Pakamisa, Lionel Mtizwa, Oscar Machapa, Tsungi Mudzamiri and many others,” said the highly revered mentor.