Mapeza to lead Warriors to AFCON tournament in Cameroon next year
Warriors’ caretaker coach Norman Mapeza has officially been selected to lead the Zimbabwe senior national team squad to the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament next year January in Cameroon.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Communications and Competitions Manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed Mapeza’s appointment.
“Norman Mapeza will continue as head coach and will guide the Warriors to the Cameroon AFCON finals,” Gwesela said.
“He (Mapeza) has been given the room and time to select his own assistants of interests.”
According to Gwesela, the gaffers appointment is subject to consultation and guidance from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) who abruptly suspended the ZIFA Secretariat last month.
Though the ZIFA board still remains suspended, ongoing preparations for the AFCON finals next year seem to be moving swiftly and smoothly.
A 40 players squad list was reportedly sent to the continental football owners, CAF, now the head coach has been nominated and again two weeks training ahead of the competition’s opening match has reportedly been scheduled.
Mapeza will become the fourth coach to take the Warriors to the continent’s biggest competition, after Sunday Chidzambwa who led the team twice, while Charles Mhlauri and Callisto Pasuwa went once.
Prior to his appointment, the 49-year-old gaffer once had a brief stint with the Warriors before he left due to alleged misunderstandings with the then ZIFA board.
But he bounced back in September as an interim coach to replace the Croat Zdravko Logarusic after he got fired due to incompetence.
The 56-year-old former Warriors coach disappointed by producing a string of poor results, managing only one win out of 16 matches.
Nonetheless, since his appointment, the former Warriors captain, Mapeza has been in charge of four games and is still yet to record a victory.
He coached the Warriors’ last four World Cup qualifiers with the belief he might be able to turn things positively and redeem the team’s hopes to qualify for the next round of the biggest tourney on earth.
However, the gaffer lost three and drew one, results that inflicted more pain to the country’s football lovers who were optimistic after his appointment. Nehanda Radio