Baltemar Brito, who worked as Jose Mourinho’s assistant coach at European clubs, has been appointed Zimbabwe’s interim coach ahead of World Cup qualifiers.

The southern African country’s FIFA suspension was lifted in July after its March 2022 expulsion, and the soccer federation has been under the governance of a temporary committee.

Zimbabwe has never qualified for the World Cup.

The 71-year-old Brito has been reviving the fortunes of Highlanders. He guided Zimbabwe’s oldest club to a 19-match unbeaten run and they are one of the favorites to clinch the domestic title.

“He has shown that he is capable, and he is just the right person we need for the big games against the likes of Nigeria, South Africa and others,” Lincoln Mutasa, the temporary committee’s head, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “He also has the right network to call upon several gifted Zimbabwean footballers scattered across the globe.”

Zimbabwe opens its qualification campaign at Rwanda in November before hosting Nigeria in Botswana since its substandard grounds were banned by FIFA. South Africa, Benin and Lesotho are also in the qualification pool.

The Brazil-born Brito was part of Mourinho’s staff at Porto and Chelsea. He told local reporters that Mourinho urged him on to apply for the Zimbabwe job.

Source: The Associated Press


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