FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza has hinted he could be willing to take another shot at the Warriors job.BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Zifa has begun the search for a new coach after parting ways with Kalisto Pasuwa following a lacklustre show at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon, where Zimbabwe failed to win a single match in their group and eventually exited the continental football showcase in the first round.
The Warriors job has also attracted interest from foreign coaches, but cashflow constraints could force Zifa to go for an indigenous coach and Mapeza has emerged as the leading candidate on Zifa’s wish list.
The former Zimbabwe skipper is one of many coaches that also include, among others, Charles Mhlauri, Rahman Gumbo, Madinda Ndlovu and Ian Gorowa who are still owed salary arrears by Zifa from their time at the helm of the Warriors.
It looks like Zifa may not invite applications and could decide to hand-pick certain candidates they would want to talk to.
Other coaches that Zifa might be considering include former Warriors mentor Sunday Chidzambwa, Joey “Mafero” Antipas, Caps United’s Lloyd Chitembwe, Bruce Grobbelaar and Gumbo.
However, Mapeza leads the race and yesterday, the unassuming FC Platinum coach, who won the championship with Monomotapa in 2008, told NewsDaySport he was yet to be approached by Zifa, but would be willing to listen to them.
“I have not been approached by Zifa. If they approach me we will talk, but I cannot comment at this stage because no one has spoken to me about it.”
Sources close to the former Galatasaray defender yesterday also said Mapeza would consider taking up the job if offered depending on certain guarantees.
“He had issues with the past administration, but the Warriors job still interests him, but there would have to be a lot of compromising from both sides if he is to come back, as he already has a stable job at FC Platinum which he might not want to relinquish.”
Former Highlanders coach Ndlovu is reported to be the second option in the event that Zifa fail to secure Mapeza.
Chitembwe, who played alongside Mapeza at the now-defunct Darryn T, been ruled out on the grounds that he is yet to attain the Caf A coaching badge.
The Caps United gaffer, who won his maiden championship last season, recently attended the course in Harare, but he is still awaiting results. However, he would still lack post-qualification experience of at least a year.
Antipas, a winner of two championships with Motor Action and Chicken Inn, is said to be “too smart and too soft” for the job. He is currently coaching South African National First Division side AmaZulu.
Grobbelaar, who also had a short stint with the Warriors, might also prove out of reach for the cash-strapped Zifa.
The mother body also feels the former Liverpool goalkeeper, who is based in Canada, is out of touch having been away for so long.
The Zifa executive committee is set to meet this week to decide on the way forward following Pasuwa’s departure.
As Zifa battles to secure a coach for the team, their Group G rivals have already drawn up their plans for the 2019 Afcon qualifiers.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have already arranged a friendly match against Kenya to be played in Nairobi on March 23.
As things stand, it is unlikely that the Warriors will make use of the next Fifa window for international friendlies which falls between March 20 and 28.
The new coach is expected to guide the Warriors in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers.
Zimbabwe were drawn in Group G, together with the continent’s sixth-ranked side DRC, Congo Brazzaville, ranked 17th, and Liberia (28th) in the qualifying draw conducted in Libreville, Gabon.