Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic’s prospective appointment as Chipolopolo coach is on the skids after suffering a bureaucratic hurdle.
Zambia’s Sports Ministry, who are supposed to guarantee the new coach’s salary, have disclosed that they have not received the final report from the Football Association of Zambia on their choice for the job.
This follows a drawn-out procedural recruitment exercise on Government directive last August after Veselin Jelusic was head-hunted by FAZ.
FAZ concluded their search last week after Micho beat ex-Mozambique coach Abel Xavier and Ivan Minnaert of Belgium to the job from a final three-member shortlist from a preliminary 60 applications.
Football House later submitted its choice to the Sports Ministry for approval at the start of this week but Sports Minister Emmanuel Mulenga said his last official communication with FAZ was on October 1, 2019.
“It has been reported in almost all the print media that FAZ has recruited a coach and they have actually reported to the Ministry so that the Ministry can actually consent on the coach,” Mulenga said.
“Our position as Ministry of Sport and my office is that we have not received any correspondence from FAZ indicating to us that they have finished the process and that they have settled on a coach.
“You need to be aware that as a professional body, or as a Ministry, we have professional ethics which regulates our decisions as well as our conduct. We can only respond when we get correspondence from FAZ.”
The relationship between Mulenga and FAZ has been frosty since his appointment last July and is allegedly aligned to ex-FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya.
Under current FAZ president Andrew Kamanga, Zambia has failed to qualify to the last two Africa Cup of Nations and the Sports Minister said the football standards in the country have plummeted under his regime.
This is despite junior success after lifting the 2017 U20 AFCON as hosts, two COSAFA U20 and U17 championship titles each and winning the 2019 COSAFA Senior Cup after two runners-up finishes.
Chipolopolo are this April heading for a second successive CHAN tournament outing under Kamanga’s regime.
By Kalumiana Kalumiana