By Eddie Chikamhi
Norman Mapeza is set to be named Warriors caretaker coach today to take charge of the remaining 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia in the next two months.
Talks between the ZIFA board, and the former Warriors captain, were still going on last night. But, the association were confident they will land their man.
Mapeza will be given special leave, by his club FC Platinum, for national duty.
And should he impress, he could be considered to take charge of the 2021 AFCON finals in Cameroon, next January. Benjani Mwaruwari, who was wooed back home from England two weeks ago after attaining a UEFA A Licence, is expected to stay put in the interim set-up.
Sources said last night everything was pointing to Mapeza bouncing back into the Warriors.
ZIFA board member, Bryton Malandule, who is the chairman of the technical and development committee, yesterday declined to reveal the identity of the coaches they were targeting.
However, he said the process to recruit the next Warriors technical team will be a thorough exercise after the association finally decided to part ways with hapless Croatian coach, Zdravko Logarusic.
“The board has already set in motion the process of identifying a new set-up to take over the affairs of the senior national football team,’’ he said.
“We are very confident by tomorrow (today), we should be able to make an announcement.
‘‘Right now it’s premature for me to go into details because we do not want to jeopardise the processes and the discussions that are currently taking place.
“As a board member, I have the duty to protect the confidential information that is discussed in meetings, unless I have been given the mandate to speak on the subject.
‘‘So we are asking for Zimbabweans to be patient, just for the next 24 hours.
“We know time is not on our side because there are important matches coming up in the next few weeks. But, we still have to do a thorough job in the shortest possible time.
“Remember, we have short-term and long-term fixes that we need to work on. We need a short-term solution now because we do not have enough time, on our hands, before we play our next game.
“The long-term thing will obviously be the normal channel, where an advert will be flighted in the media, and we will receive applications which we will work on.’’
The Warriors post fell vacant following the sacking of Loga on Sunday.
The 55-year-old set the worst record, by any Zimbabwe coach, after winning only one game in 14 international assignments, since February last year.
The association had to act after Loga failed to meet a revised target of four points, from the opening two matches.
“Results in the games against South Africa and Ethiopia were not pleasing and we did what we had to do as an association. Like, what the president has said, there were targets that the coach was supposed to meet and he failed,” said Malandule.
The termination of Loga’s contract was widely welcomed by the Zimbabwe football community.
“We applaud ZIFA for dismissing the out-of-sorts Loga. It was long overdue, he has messed up with our beloved Warriors,” said Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association organising secretary, Chris “Romario” Musekiwa.
“We implore ZIFA to appoint an astute local coach, as interim Warriors coach, with requisite papers in line with CAF regulations.
‘‘We have key back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Ghana in three weeks’ time. So, time is not on our side.” The Herald