Mapeza’s term to be extended
WARRIORS interim coach Norman Mapeza’s stint at the helm is set to be extended beyond the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals that will be held in Cameroon early next year, according to a Zifa insider.
Mapeza signed a three-month contract that ends in December after the World Cup qualifiers. He replaced Croatian Zdravko Logarušic, who led the Warriors into a dark patch by registering just one win in 14 matches.
The FC Platinum mentor has already played and lost two games against Ghana, which effectively ruled Zimbabwe out of the race for Qatar, hosts of the 2022 Fifa World Cup finals.
“The general feeling within Zifa is that Norman must lead the national team in Cameroon because appointing another new face might be an administrative and technical disaster for the nation,” said the insider.
Zifa acting chief executive officer Xolisani Gwesela and Bryton Malandule, the technical and development committee chairperson, would neither confirm nor deny that Mapeza’s tenure had been extended to cover the Afcon finals.
“No decisions yet,” said Gwesela, without dismissing the claims.
Like Gwesela, Malandule also did not refute the claims, but instead said they will be meeting soon as a board for a “hollistic review of our World Cup qualifiers and Afcon preparations”.
“We will meet as a board to map the way forward. This process is led by the presidium. Remember the coach was given a three-month contract. The board directs the technical and development committee. When we are looking for a coach, we would have been given the mandate by the board,” said Malandule.
Former Botswana coach and Algerian national Adel Amrouche is believed to be keen on taking over as Warriors’ coach.
They’re possibilities that Amrouche could be appointed technical advisor during the Afcon finals before taking overall control after the finals.
Meanwhile, Mapeza has bemoaned the absence of a junior football policy and warned that Zimbabwean will remain doomed if the status quo continues.
“We have talent as a country, but that counts for nothing as long as we don’t guard and nurture it jealously. We need a strong junior policy, which must compel every club to have a reserve team made up of Under-18s or Under-20s. These sides will be playing every week where their senior teams will be playing,” said Mapeza.
He said such a policy would make the job of junior national team coaches when selecting age group teams.
At present, Mapeza said the selection criteria for junior national teams was opaque.
“Right now we have a team going to the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Games in Lesotho. Where did the coach see those players? If we had a national junior league, we will be having that information in our database,” said Mapeza.
He said during his playing days, it was common for a schoolboy to be playing for a Premier Soccer League club, but these days players make their debuts over the age of 20.
“Guys like Mackay Nyathi, Peter Ndlovu, Willard Khumalo, Thabani Moyo, Alois Bunjira, Methembe Ndlovu and many others became household names when they were still going to school because junior football was respected back then. It’s now only memories,” Mapeza said.
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