HARARE – Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) faces a race against time to secure the future of Warriors’ coach Baltemar Brito as his contract, initially linked to Highlanders, is set to expire at the end of this month.
The looming uncertainty raises concerns about the national team’s coaching staff ahead of crucial assignments scheduled for next year.
Brito’s contract with Highlanders, which also expires on December 31, has added complexity to ZIFA’s task of reengaging the coach for a new contract and work permit.
While Brito has expressed his desire to continue with the national team, there is a palpable risk of losing him to other opportunities if ZIFA delays the renewal process, leaving the Warriors without a coach.
Two months ago, ZIFA enlisted the former Highlanders’ coach to lead the Warriors’ 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
At that time, it was conveyed that Brito and fitness and conditioning coach Antonio Torres would be contracted until June 24, coinciding with the conclusion of the ZIFA normalization committee’s tenure.
However, it appears that their contracts were aligned with their Highlanders’ tenure.
ZIFA normalization committee chairman Lincoln Mutasa clarified the situation, stating, “We gave them up to the end of December. We could not give them contracts that were different from that of Highlanders.
“Their contracts have to be re-visited, so we have to sit down as the normalization committee on whether to seek to apply for an extension.”
“We have to re-apply to the Registrar General’s Office in terms of them getting their work permits. When they signed, we were relying on the Highlanders’ contracts.”
Despite ZIFA’s reassurances, the fate of Brito and Torres remains uncertain as their contracts need revisiting.
Both coaches are awaiting communication from ZIFA on the matter.
Brito, who arrived in Zimbabwe mid-last year and joined Highlanders after the dismissal of Mandla Mpofu, has already overseen three Warriors matches.
The team played a friendly match against Botswana, drawing 1-1 in regulation time before losing 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out.
In the 2026 Group C FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Warriors secured a goalless draw against Rwanda and a 1-1 draw against Nigeria.
The Brazilian-born Brito, with a coaching background that includes working with AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho, attracted attention due to Highlanders’ remarkable first-half performance in the Premier Soccer League.
However, ZIFA now faces the challenge of securing the services of Brito and Torres for an extended period to ensure stability within the coaching staff as the Warriors prepare for upcoming assignments.