By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Selection of a new trainer for 2012 African football champions, Zambia’s Chipolopolo, will take place this week following the departure of Belgian born coach, Sven Vandenbroeck, who quit his post in March last year, barely six months after his appointment.
The abrupt resignation of the 39-year-old Belgian, which left the national team trainer’s position vacant, attracted a flurry of potential replacements, resulting in the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) settling for Serbian born and renowned coach, Vaselin Jelušica, to drill the former 2012 AFCON cup holders, though his stay was short-lived after government rejected the mode of appointing a new trainer.
The aftermath has seen another flurry of over 60 potential replacements lining up for the role of trainer for the senior national team to replace Vandenbroeck. His departure saw Aggrey Chiyangi, a former Zambia international, who is now trainer of premier league side Green Eagles, taking charge on care-taker basis.
Adrian Kashala, the FAZ’s general secretary, said efforts are underway to secure a substantive trainer and that interviews for 12-personalities out of the earlier 60 that applied for the job are expected to be undertaken and completed before the close of the week to ensure a coach for the senior men’s national team.
An official from the Zambia Football Coaches Association –ZAFCA - will oversee the selection process. Insiders disclosed to The Southern Times the various notable applicants that include former Nigerian international, Emmanuel Amunike, former Croatian national team trainer, Zoran Vulic, Spanish trainer, Jesus Flores, as well as ex-Buildcon (a Zambian premier league side) trainer, Srdjan Zivojnov, as being among those that sought consideration.
According to FAZ sources, Zambia wants a coach that will steer the team to higher heights and see Chipolopolo reclaiming their lost glory as continental giants. The would-be coach should have minimum qualifications of UEFA B and A licences. Many Zambia coaches lack the benchmark of a UEFA A or B license.
“The FA have agreed to ensure the new coach qualifies the team for the 2021 AFCON to be hosted by Cameroon as well as ensure the team participates in the World Cup global tournament in Qatar in 2022,” said a source.
Renowned trainer and Serbian, Vaselin Jelušica, who once drilled Angola’s senior football side, had last August been picked to drill the 2012 African champions to take over the position left by Vandenbroeck in March last year.
Jelušica, with a wealth of coaching experience, had been tipped to be unveiled as trainer for Chipolopolo last year until government intervened and changed his destiny. It argued the selection process lacked transparency hence the call for fresh interviews.
He is renowned for having trained among other teams, Angola national team in 1998, and Botswana from 2002 to 2005. He doubled as youth coordinator in Botswana from 2005 to 2010. His last posting was at Bloemfontein Celtic in the South Africa premier league in 2018.