Home Africa News Norman Mapeza speaks after being appointed interim Warriors coach

Norman Mapeza speaks after being appointed interim Warriors coach


Norman Mapeza speaks after being appointed interim Warriors coach. The 49-year-old returned as interim head coach of the senior national team after his representatives finally reached an agreement with ZIFA yesterday. His immediate task with be to try and restore the team’s shattered confidence while also salvaging what is left of Zimbabwe’s chances, in the World Cup campaign.

Norman Mapeza wants to breathe life into the Warriors’ 2022 World Cup campaign after a poor start in which they have failed to score in their first two games.

Mapeza agreed a short-term three-month deal with ZIFA, which will see him take charge of the three remaining World Cup qualifiers. The campaign was left in tatters by his predecessor, Zdravko Logarusic. Mapeza’s first assignment will be the back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Ghana, coming up in the next three weeks.

“They told me that they wanted someone to help them in the next coming few games and I said okay, it’s fine,’’ said Mapeza. “That’s why I agreed to help out.
“I have been there before, and it’s always good to help the nation when the need arises. “It’s not going to be easy, but I will try my level best to revive this World Cup campaign. “I think, after the previous results, definitely, the confidence will be low among the players, and the nation at large.

“It’s like everybody is down but, like I said, I will try my best to bring this campaign back to life and try to bring confidence back into the boys.’’ The former Zimbabwe captain replaced Loga who had dragged the Warriors down to the level of the whipping boys on the continent following a dismal run of just one win in 14 outings.

Loga was fired on Sunday following a ZIFA board meeting, and his technical team, which comprised Tonderai Ndiraya, Lloyd Chitembwe and goalkeepers’ coach, Tembo Chuma, was also dissolved.

Mapeza was given the leeway to choose his assistants, and picked Taurai Mangwiro and Mandla Mpofu, with Energy Murambadoro coming in as the goalkeepers’ coach. The former Zimbabwe international, who has had on-and-off stints with the Warriors in the past, will remain, head coach of FC Platinum after the club cleared him for national duty.

ZIFA are expected to name a substantive coach in time for next January’s AFCON tournament where Zimbabwe will be among the 24 finalists, in Cameroon.

Many in local football circles felt Mapeza still had unfinished business with the Warriors. His most recent stint was in 2017 when he was again appointed on a caretaker basis, plugging the void left by the departure of Callisto Pasuwa, earlier that year.

Mapeza helped lay the foundation for the Warriors’ 2019 AFCON qualification when he led the team to a convincing 3-0 home win, over Liberia, in the opening game of the qualifiers.

Knowledge Musona scored a hat-trick, in that match, at the National Sports Stadium. But, he comes back at a time when morale is at rock bottom as the Warriors have not won a match in the last seven games, under the clueless Loga.

The team, which boasts of some of the best attacking talent in the region, has also not scored a goal in 315 minutes of action in the AFCON/World Cup qualifiers. Mapeza is expected to name his squad for the upcoming Group G World Cup assignments against the Black Stars in the coming days.

The Warriors are provisionally set to play in Ghana on October 6 before they return home for the return leg four days later at the National Sports Stadium. Zimbabwe will also play Ethiopia at home before winding off their campaign in South Africa in November.

Mapeza will have to find a way to balance between club duties and national team commitments. He is set to lead FC Platinum in defence of their domestic championship while the cub are also currently playing in the CAF Champions League.

“Like I said, the immediate task is reviving the World Cup campaign,” he said. “I think I have done it before, when I was asked to help the team in 2017; I was also at FC Platinum during that time. “I have done it before, so it’s not something new to me,” said Mapeza.

His manager, Gibson Mahachi, said Mapeza had to put behind unresolved matters with ZIFA, who are believed to owe the coach a substantial amount of money from previous engagements because he respected the call for national duty.

“Norman has agreed to a three-month arrangement as head coach of the Warriors,’’ said Mahachi. “ZIFA have reached out to him and, once again, he has agreed to come and take the responsibility at such short notice since it is a crisis.

“ZIFA had to seek clearance from FC Platinum first and the club has agreed to the arrangement because it’s a crisis situation. “What will happen, after the three months depends on what ZIFA want.

“But, for now, it’s been agreed to be three months and Norman will remain head coach at FC Platinum as well.” ZIFA confirmed they had made changes to the Warriors technical team.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity, and the nation at large, that it has agreed terms with Norman Mapeza, to become the interim head coach of the Warriors on a three months contract,’’ association spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said in a statement.

“Other members of the interim technical setup appointed in consultation with the head coach are assistant coaches Taurai Mangwiro and Mandla Mpofu, and goalkeepers’ coach Energy Murambadoro.

“ZIFA would like to thank all stakeholders for their patience during the process of recruitment. We also express our gratitude to former coach Zdravko Logarusic for the services he rendered and we wish him the best in his future endeavours.

“The new technical team shares the vision that the association has for the Warriors, and we wish them all the best during their tenure.’’

Source – The Herald


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