By Makomborero Mutimukulu
No man quite does it like Norman Mapeza. The FC Platinum coach seemingly steps on toes with reckless abandon but always finds a way of earning pardon through delivering under heavy burden.
Many a coach would have been fired for pulling the stunt that Mapeza pulled a week before he celebrated his 47th birthday last Friday.
A heated meeting over salaries, on the eve of the champions’ Match Day Two engagement with Triangle, saw Mapeza swearing and aiming verbal jabs at club chairman Evans Mtombeni.
The reigning coach of the year had to be restrained by assistant coach Daniel Vheremu as he fumed, swore and charged towards his boss Mtombeni.
However, Mapeza will make the trip to Harare tomorrow to face Mushowani at Rufaro without losing sleep about the possibility of being fired.
His job is safe because no team quite does it like FC Platinum — giving their coach a long rope, sanitising the inexcusable while hoping that the drama will blow away with time.
The past week saw some PR spin being added to the latest piece of nasty news to come from the Pure Platinum Play camp with club president George Mawere claiming the Mapeza versus Mtombeni showdown was normal.
“It is not something amiss, it is usual for tempers to flare in any meeting, but the most important thing is to resolve things amicably when such things occur… everything in our camp is in order and there is no problem,” Mawere was quoted as saying.
Normal must have taken a new meaning!
Having a subordinate charge at one of his bosses, threatening to do God knows what to him, like how Mapeza charged at Mtombeni cannot be described as normal.
It’s abnormal and the sooner FC Platinum find a way of honestly dealing with their low points the better for the squeaky clean image they have been trying to portray over the years.
When Mapeza slapped a drunk Gift Bello in front of thousands at Mandava earlier this year FC Platinum promised to get to the bottom of the matter.
And that was the last they went public about that one.
A few months later they have another PR crisis and as per their modus operandi the champions are waving their charm.
Mtombeni is leading with the Mapeza is going nowhere gospel and was one of the first people to wish the temperamental coach a happy birthday.
There is a theory in some circles that suggests that Mapeza is untouchable at FC Platinum because he has close links to one of the team’s godfathers.
But that really doesn’t fly because if Mapeza was as powerful as alleged his bosses would not have dared to accuse him of subtly giving his blessings to the industrial action.
The more plausible explanation is that this marriage between the champions and their coach is of two partners who desperately need each other.
FCP gives Mapeza a good paying job that comes with little drama.
On the flip side while talk of replacing Mapeza pops up in Zvishavane once in a while the club’s bosses appreciate that very few coaches can bring the one important ingredient that the present gaffer brings to their platinum brew.
Mapeza does much more than coach the FC Platinum players.
He parents them and makes it his point to know where they spend their spare time and what time they sleep among other seemingly weird little things.
It’s an approach that has not won him many smiles but one that has delivered two championships on the bounce and a CAF Champions League group stage dance.
Prior to Mapeza’s arrival the FC Platinum lads were highly paid free spirits — to borrow a line from Killer T — who drank like fish and played like ducks.
Mapeza brought that nonsense to an end.
His ways are sometimes difficult to fathom but Norman Mapeza looks made for FC Platinum and the club has seemingly learnt to normalise his occasional abnormalities. The Sunday Mail