INTERIM Warriors coach Wilson Mutekede understands where those who are questioning the move to put him in charge of the national team are coming from.
“The reaction is understandable. They don’t know much about me and they are bound to question who this Wilson Mutekede guy who has been asked by Zifa to take charge of the team for the games against Namibia and Lesotho is.
“This is the national team we are talking about, it belongs to the people and they have a right to ask questions,” said the 46-year-old.
Zifa turned to Mutekede, who is also the association’s technical director, after moves to rope in coaches such as Norman Mapeza, Sunday Chidzambwa and Joey Antipas for this week’s friendly matches drew blanks.
Mapeza and Chidzambwa are committed at their clubs while Antipas, although unattached and already interviewed for the national team job, is understood not to have been keen on taking over the team on a temporary basis.
Out of desperation, Zifa turned to the highly qualified Mutekede who in turn roped in his close friend Lloyd Chitembwe as his assistant.
“This is a call to national duty and there is no way I was going to say no given that I am also an employee of Zifa. This is a temporary arrangement but the importance of the assignment is not lost to me. I feel humbled and thank God for the opportunity to coach the national team,” said Mutekede.
“Given the reaction that has greeted my appointment, I also feel this is an opportunity for me to prove that the qualifications I have did not just come but are a result of hard work and a confirmation that I have been through the mill and have something to offer the nation.
“Yes I have a close relationship with Lodza (Chitembwe) but away from that he is the only top coach who was available at such a short notice. The other guys are fighting for the championship or battling against relegation but my brother is safe.
“And I didn’t have to call him and ask if he was ready to join me in this mission, I just told him this is how it is. He is a good coach and will certainly add value to the national team.”
Mutekede explained the thinking behind the squad he called up.
“It’s a team that points to the future. We all know the core of the current Warriors squad — Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Marvellous Nakamba and Costa Nhamoinesu — but we are saying the team must continue to evolve.
“I am happy that the UK based guys we called up have confirmed their availability and are ready to do business for the nation,” said the former Caps United assistant coach.
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