Mapeza's big task

HARARE - Norman Mapeza got a glimpse of the huge task that lies ahead of him in the event he gets the Warriors job on a full-time basis following Sunday’s goalless draw against Zambia.

Mapeza was picked by Zifa to oversee the international friendly match against Chipolopolo following the sacking of Kalisto Pasuwa last month.

Pasuwa was shown the exit door after the Warriors’ poor performance at the 2017 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon earlier this year.

Since then, Zifa has been looking for a coach to fill the vacancy with Mapeza among the names being touted as a good replacement.

The FC Platinum coach’s standing in that race to replace Pasuwa got a boost last week when he was given the reigns to take charge of the side for yesterday’s game. 

In many ways, the clash against the former African champions was more of an audition for the former Warriors captain.

Had Zimbabwe fired on all cylinders and won the match in a convincing manner, there is no doubt Zifa would have been under pressure to immediately give him the job.

But Sunday’s match did not enhance or dent Mapeza’s chances of getting the job on a full-time basis.

Mapeza drew his players largely from his club FC Platinum, CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum.

It was Zambia, who controlled the game, dominating possession only to be denied by Edmore Sibanda on several occasions.

Mapeza felt the team played well but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“I think it was a good game of football despite the fact that we assembled a few days ago,” Mapeza said.

“I think credit should go to the boys, they fought so hard considering that we are still off-season and you could see towards the last 15 minutes that some of the guys were fizzling out but they kept pushing and at the end a goalless draw I think is a fair result.

“Our biggest setback was in the strike-force and the absence of those two guys (Tendai Ndoro and Matthew Rusike) really affected our game plan. I had wanted to capitalise on their experience. You could tell that we were struggling going forward.

“If our season had started we could have found some replacements.”

On chances of him getting the Warriors job on a permanent basis, Mapeza said: “For now I cannot make a decision, I am employed at FC Platinum and they also need to make a decision. I have got a job there which I do every day and here (at the national team) it’s not something that I will do every day.

“I will be here maybe once in six months but I have got a full-time job at FC Platinum. It’s not about my decision only because my club also needs to make their decision. It’s difficult for me to talk about tomorrow because you don’t know what will happen.”

The Warriors were found wanting for the better part of the match as they lacked cohesion and creativity in midfield.

However, despite playing second fiddle for almost the entire match Sibanda came close to scoring twice from set pieces before half time.

Zambian strikers John Chingando, Jackson Mwanza and defender Fackson Kapumbu were guilty of missing clear-cut chances.

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda was happy with how his charges fared.

“Zimbabwe gave us a very good run. They played a very good and organised game,” Nyirenda said.

“I would like to salute coach...Mapeza for coming up with a team in a short space of time that withstood our pressure also.

“My team played good football, created a number of good chances but I think our finishing was poor today.

“I think if we had utilised our chances we could have scored three goals but it was good preparation for our Chan and Afcon qualifiers. We came with a purely Chan team of locally-based players.”


Zimbabwe: Edmore Sibanda, Qadr Amini, Partson Jaure, Dennis Dauda, Godknows Murwira, Winston Mhango, Liberty Chakoroma, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Ronald Chitiyo, Prince Dube

Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Taonga Bwembya, Fackson Kapumbu, Ziyo Tembo, Billy Mutale, Kondwani Mtonga, John Chingando, Fwayo Tembo, Augustine Mulenga, Jakson Mwanza, Ronald Kampamba

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