NATIONAL soccer team assistant coach Birindelli Alessandro has resigned due to misunderstandings on the technical bench.
Alessandro was one of the three assistants coach Dario Bonetti came with from Italy when he was appointed Chipolopolo trainer last July.
The coaches that have remained are physical trainer Ruggiero Umberto and goalkeepers’ trainer Bozzini Claudio.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager Erick Mwanza confirmed Alessandro’s resignation in an interview in Lusaka on February 1.
Mwanza said the Italian left immediately after the Council of Eastern and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge held in Tanzania last year.
He, however, said Alessandro communicated his resignation to FAZ last week.
Mwanza said the soft-spoken Italian indicated that he wanted to leave because of differences on the technical bench.
He said FAZ will miss Alessandro, adding that there was nothing the association could do to stop the coach from leaving since he had already made up his mind.
“He had hinted that he wanted to leave and immediately after the CECAFA Championship in Tanzania he left for Italy. We thought maybe he will come back together with other coaches when they returned but he remained behind and only communicated his resignation last week,” Mwanza said.
He said Alessandro stated that he had a cordial working relationship with FAZ but he could not stay on because of misunderstandings with some members of the technical bench.
“As FAZ we have nothing to do with his resignation. I think it’s only the coach who can know better,” Mwanza said.
He said the former national team assistant coach was brought by Bonetti and the coach has the right to choose the people he wants to work with.
Mwanza said FAZ does not choose assistants for the coaches and that the Italian is the only one who can identify the right person he thinks can add value to his team.
Mwanza said Bonetti has hinted that he wants a local coach to replace Alessandro.
He said FAZ will give Bonetti a leeway to pick any local coach he wants to join him on the technical bench.
Mwanza said the association would not have any hand in the picking of the assistant trainer.
He said FAZ will give maximum support to Bonetti and his team to ensure the Chipolopolo qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
“After failing to qualify for the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament which is starting this week in Sudan, our focus is on the Africa Cup and the game against Mozambique is crucial to our journey to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We shall therefore do anything to support the coach and ensure that he has everything he needs to prepare the team adequately for the game against Mozambique,” Mwanza said.
It is not clear if under-23 national team coach Lucky Msiska, who has fallen out of favour with Bonetti, will also continue on the senior national team technical bench.
The relationship between Msiska and Bonetti has deteriorated to irreconcilable levels with the two coaches exchanging bitter words in full view of the players at the CECAFA Senior Challenge in Tanzania last year.
The duo almost exchanged punches at Football House last year after Msiska questioned Bonetti’s use of the defensive system even against weak teams such as Ethiopia and Somalia.
Meanwhile, former Nkwazi coach Chris Kaunda is being tipped to join Bonetti’s bench.
Kaunda travelled with Bonetti to Kitwe for last Saturday’s Orange African Champions League match between Zesco United and Mozambican side Liga Desportiva Muculmana.
Meanwhile HONE LIWANGA reports that Bonetti is confident Zambia will beat Mozambique in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on March 26 in Maputo.
Bonetti said in Kitwe that he is taking the match against Mozambique seriously.
He said he will ensure the Chipolopolo are adequately prepared for the must-win match.
Bonetti was speaking after watching the Orange African Champions League match between Zesco United and Liga Desportiva Muculmana of Mozambique at Kitwe’s Arthur Davies Stadium which the hosts won 3-0.
“The match against Mozambique is very important. We’ll prepare for them and I am confident we’ll beat them. I am happy to watch players from Mozambique playing against Zesco United,” Bonetti said.
The Italian lauded Zesco for beating Muculmana and urged the Ndola outfit to ensure they prepare adequately for the return leg slated for Maputo.
Zambia are lying on third position in their group with three points after winning one match against Comoros Islands whom they beat 4-0 in Lusaka before losing 1-0 to Libya in Tripoli.
Libya and Mozambique are tied on four points while tail-enders Comoros are yet to collect any point.
[Zambia Daily Mail]