HARARE – The interim president of Zimbabwe’s football federation has revealed that Baltemar Brito is very unlikely to return as the country’s coach this year because the association doesn’t have the “funds”, despite the Portuguese gaffer’s impressive start to his international coaching career.

71-year-old Brito guided Zimbabwe to two draws in the Warriors’ opening 2026 World Cup qualifiers last November against Rwanda and Nigeria, but the Brazilian-born coach only got the part-time job because he was already working in the Southern African nation as coach of local club giants Highlanders.

Highlanders however didn’t renew Brito’s contract at the end of the 2023 season after the Bulawayo club once again failed to land its first Zimbabwean league title since 2006.

Brito’s short term contract with a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) lasted only up to last December, in line with his Highlanders deal.

But Zifa now seems not keen on retaining Brito, a former assistant coach of Jose Mourinho who made his debut as an international football coach during Zimbabwe’s opening two World Cup qualifiers in November.

“Remember the normalisation committee is not here for a long time (its term expires in June 2024), so bringing somebody from abroad will cost us a lot of money at a time we are not playing any games,” Zifa interim boss Lincoln Mutasa told SportsCast on Friday. “I doesn’t make a great deal of sense. We simply do not have those funds. Maybe a local person is ideal, so that he can be at hand to monitor the players and coach the guys before the return to the qualifiers.”

The World Cup qualifiers will resume next June and indications point to Zifa’s normalisation committee appointing a local coach for the duration of the interim executive’s tenure.

Mutasa said an announcement – whether or not to continue with Brito – will be made in a fortnight.

Genesis Mangombe, coach of record Zimbabwean champions Dynamos, has been tipped to coach the Warriors on caretaker basis. The youthful Mangombe was one of Brito’s assistants in the two World Cup qualifiers in November.


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