Zimbabwe have appointed a new head coach in the form of Brazilian football veteran Baltemar José de Oliveira Brito, ahead of their crucial clash with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier, Soccernet.ng reports.
Brito, 71, will have Bongani Mafu and Genesis Mangombe as his assistant coaches.
Brito’s maiden task will be leading the team in a friendly match against Botswana on Saturday, September 30.
However, his true test awaits on November 13, as Zimbabwe face off against Rwanda in their first competitive FIFA World Cup qualifier.
A week later, they will lock horns with Nigeria’s Super Eagles, the three-time African champions.
The Super Eagles are expected to be the favourites in that contest, as all the focus will be on securing a victory and clinching all three vital points.
“He has shown that he is capable, and he is just the right person we need for the big games against the likes of Nigeria, South Africa and others,” Lincoln Mutasa, the temporary committee’s head, told The Associated Press, as per The Zimbabwean.
“He also has the right network to call upon several gifted Zimbabwean footballers scattered across the globe.”
Recife-born Brito had a relatively modest playing career as a center-back, representing a couple of Brazilian clubs before moving to Portugal in 1974. He continued his journey, playing for more than five clubs in Portugal until his retirement in 1988.
Transitioning swiftly into coaching, Brito embarked on a fruitful partnership with José Mourinho during the 2001–02 season at U.D. Leiria. This collaboration spanned eight years, with Brito serving as Mourinho’s assistant at Porto and later at Chelsea.
Brito also had stints as a manager, overseeing teams like Portugal’s Belenenses and Brazil’s Grêmio Osasco, although these experiences yielded limited success.
His African coaching adventure began in 2013 when he took the helm at Libya’s Al-Ittihad Tripoli.
Now, with the dual responsibility of guiding Zimbabwe’s national team and Highlanders in the Zimbabwe Premier League, Brito is set to tackle his most significant challenge yet: helping Zimbabwe secure their first-ever World Cup qualification.