FORMER Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) executive committee officials have described Chipolopolo assistant coach Irfan Kawri’s sudden decision to return to Britain to secure his job as mockery.
Keegan Chipango said National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) should question FAZ on how Kawri was engaged to the Chipolopolo technical bench that he would abandon the team in the middle of a crucial tournament (CHAN).
Chipango said Kawri’s fiasco was an indicator that the soccer body was being run like a personal kiosk.
Kawri was appointed assistant coach in December with the aim of assessing his capabilities at the CHAN tournament after which the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) would have made a decision on whether to keep him or not.
Kawri’s arrival in the Chipolopolo camp was met with mixed feelings with some players welcoming him while some had reservations for the coach.
It is not clear whether the lack of full support in camp and sharp reactions on social media would be attributed to Kawri’s decision to think twice on taking up the Chipolopolo role.
FAZ have confirmed that Kawri has returned to Lusaka and will then proceed to his base in England.
“Kawri returns for private and family reasons. Coach George Lwandamina and Kawri informed the squad of the private reasons. Lwandamina hailed Kawri’s work and greater contribution to the preparation of the CHAN team,” FAZ confirmed the development through a posting on its official facebook page.
“I am surprised that Kawri left the team in the cold after all praises that were heaped on him by FAZ. Why was he engaged in the first place if FAZ knew that Kawri had personal matters to solve. CHAN is an important tournament and FAZ should have looked at Kawri’s personal commitment to the team,”
“FAZ is running soccer in the country like a personal ttemba (kiosk) where things are being done without thinking about the future. The soccer body should give a proper explanation to Kawri’s leave. It is time NSCZ took FAZ to task over their unprofitable decisions,” he said.
He said Kawri’s departure at a crucial moment may even have a negative impact on the team’s performance at the tournament. Zambia opens her campaign at the tournament tomorrow when she faces rivals Zimbabwe.
“These are issues that sometimes affect the team’s performance. It can have a psychological effect on the boys. I am sure a local coach cannot abandon the team at that stage. Our local coaches are not that bad, Honour Janza has the technical knowledge,” he said.
And former FAZ committee member Henschel Chitembeya said Kawri’s recruitment was an uphazard decision that has now backfired.
Chitembeya said FAZ should now realize that people’s call for local coaches to be attached to the national team were not baseless but for the interest and benefit of the team.
“I wonder if the right procedure was followed when engaging Kawri or it was done by an individual. I am not surprised that Kawri left. His recruitment was an uphazard decision. FAZ did not consider his level of commitment to the team. I believe a local coach cannot abandon the team. A local coach will have total commitment and patriotism,” he said.
The FAZ vice-president aspirant advised the councillors to consider all these issues when voting during the FAZ annual general meeting and elections on March 19.
And Zambia Soccer Fans Association (ZSFA) patron Peter Makembo said Kawri’s decision to leave the team in the middle of a crucial tournament was a sad development that could have been avoided.
He said FAZ should have considered Kawri’s job in Britain before engaging him to the technical bench just weeks before an important tournament.
“It is unfortunate that Kawri left before he could be assessed. But I hope that his departure will not affect the team. The head coach George Lwandamina is capable of doing a good job with his other assistants and he knows the team too well,” he said.
Kawri was in December engaged to assist Lwandamina with technical and tactical expertise throughout the CHAN tournament and thereafter FAZ would decide whether to engage him permanently or not.