Zesco United’s frantic search for a top class coach to fire them back into the MTN Super League contention has seen them step up their interest in former Chipolopolo Boys coach Patrick Phiri, Zambianfootball.net understands and can exclusively reveal.
But the champions are not alone in the chase for the soft spoken coach’s signature as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) sponsored clubs duo Konkola Blades and Nchanga Rangers have also expressed interest.
Zanaco is also believed to be considering hiring Phiri, who guided Nkana to their 10th and 11th leage title in 1999 and 2001 respectively should they part company with their current coach Wedson Nyirenda. This season Zanaco and Nyirenda have had a ‘love and hate’ relationship after differing over the bankers’ transfer policy when they let over 8 senior players leave Sunset Stadium in January.
While the bankers are still bidding time on the future of Nyirenda, Zesco United executive sacked Fighton Simukonda last week and handed the job to his assistant Masautso Mwale, hoping he could follow suit and emulate Nyirenda by leading the Ndola side to success after they snatched ‘Wada Wada’ from Zanaco, who was at the time coincidentally Simukonda’s assistant at Sunset Stadium but those plans have been thwarted after Zesco were beaten 1-0 by Kabwe Warriors in Mwale’s first match in-charge.
According to sources, Zesco will meet Phiri this week in Ndola and will offer him about ZMK15 million making him the highest paid coach in Zambia though it is ZMK10 million less than what Tanzania’s Simba FC were paying him during his stint in East Africa.
But according to another highly placed source, Blades and Rangers, who are bankrolled by KCM are also courting the services of Phiri. With Keagan Mumba barracked by upset Blades fans a fortnight ago and also Rangers coached by Bruce Mwape struggling in the league as they are without a win in the last six league matches, both coaches’ future at the two clubs are in doubt.
“The mine team also have the monies to hire the best coaches so I would not be suprised if Patrick Phiri goes to Blades or Nchanga. Yes If you remember David Kaunda, the man behind Zanaco’s recent succes is the man behind KCM teams now that why the sponorship is going up,” a Zamfoot Crew source revealed.
Though Mumba, Mwape and Nyirenda are still at the helm of their respective teams, Nakambala Leopards are searching for Dick Ngwenya’s replacement who ditched them for Kabwe Warriors, the ‘Sugar Boys’ executive are trying to convince the Zambia Sugar management to up the coach’s salary and they are hoping that they can meet Simukonda’s wages believed to be ZMK10 million which are proving to be the stumbling block in recruiting the 2010 Zambian coach of the year.