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Dube laughs the longest!


He who laughs last laughs the longest, so goes the adage.

And Zifa Board president Cuthbert Dube must surely be a relieved man, smiling all the way after the Warriors 2-1 victory over Mali.

He smiled into his pocket and took out
$25 000 for the team just say: “Thanks, you made my day!”

He fought hard, even against his own technical committee at the national association, for the appointment of a local coach for the senior national team, the Warriors.

This left the board divided after the technical committee had recommended Belgian-born Tom Saintfiet for the top job.

Some people, most in their brown bottle wisdom, said the board had been divided along tribal lines and simply because one of the board members in the technical committee did not come from Harare.

Some thought everyone was against Norman Mapeza. Yes, at some stage a vote was taken on what should be done and the former Warriors man emerged with two votes while nine board members voted against him.

When Saintfiet failed to get a work permit, Dube took the matter into his own hands and appointed Mapeza, who had attained a Caf C Licence, as head coach.

He promised him support and one would say, he has received the support. Not because they did not want him, but they clearly stated that he (Mapeza) needed to gain experience under an experienced coach before taking over, possibly for the 2014 World Cup campaign.

They gave the example of South Africa, who had Pitso Mosimane understudying Brazilian Carlos Alberto Pereira before eventually taking over last year after the World Cup.

Now he is on the verge of qualifying for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Soon Mapeza will be off to Germany or Brazil to further his coaching ahead of the last two qualifiers against Liberia in September and Cape Verde Islands in October.

Under-20 coach Taurai Mangwiro has already been to Germany on a similar mission.

After playing out a 1-1 draw away to Liberia, it was expected that the Warriors would beat Cape Verde at home, but off-the-field problems caused by Zifa over Saintfiet and the appointment of co-coaches, ensured that Zimbabwe played out a 0-0 draw.

And that was when Dube decided to appoint Mapeza, and he will surely be feeling vindicated that a win has finally come.

The 2-1 win over Mali ensured the Warriors remain third with five points, one behind second-placed Mali and two behind leaders Cape Verde. I imagine Dube saying to himself:

“Yeah, I made the right decision, we have won the first game, we need to beat Liberia at home to remain in the hunt. I was always right; these guys did not understand my philosophy.

“So now we need to work together as the entire board to ensure the team has the best possible preparations for the next match. I know my other guys support me now. Yes, we did it!”

He (Dube) has every right to celebrate this victory. In his very first interview with the leading daily paper in Zimbabwe, NewsDay, Dube clearly stated that his starting point was to get to the Afcon 2012 finals and everything would fall into place after that.

He spoke glowingly about this dream and asked the nation to share and support his vision. And the results are starting to be clear, although I maintain we should have beaten Cape Verde at home.

For now, Dube is in the comfort zone until the end of July, when he must make sure the Warriors have an international friendly in August before the Liberia match.

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