Suspended Warriors coach Norman Mapeza has refused to comment on his possible return to the national team, after some fans called for his immediate reinstatement, following Zimbabwes 0-1 loss to Guinea on Sunday.
Fearing being caught up in the politics of football, Mapeza, who left the match venue on Sunday with football agent Gibson Mahachi, said he was not interested in football matters presently.
I am not talking about football matters at the moment, he said. Mapeza, though, seemed to be the man in the minds of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, who said they were unhappy with the way Zifa had treated the former Warriors defender.
The association expressed its discomfort over the throwing of missiles after the Sunday loss and the derogatory songs and placards that were targeted at head coach Rahman Gumbo, but were clear they wanted Zifa to re-engage Mapeza.
Spokesman for the association Wellington Mpandare said: That was uncalled for. We cannot support such behaviour. In any football match, its either you win, lose or draw and we must learn to accept any result.
Its very difficult to control fans and we understand the pressure Rahman Gumbo is under. He is a good coach. He has achieved it all and we cannot take away anything from him. What we are saying is that if Zifa is planning to give him the job full-time, they must say so.
He can then leave FC Platinum and concentrate on this job. There are always negative perceptions when a coach is still tied to a team. Thats why at the end of the day, people will always think Mapeza could have done better.
The fans are not happy with the way Zifa treated Mapeza. They should sit down with him and iron out their differences and the differences they have with supporters. Its not like they dont want Rahman, but they are unhappy with the way Norman has been treated, Mpandare said.
Asked why the ZNSSA kept their silence when Madinda Ndlovu was unceremoniously dismissed by the same Zifa administration last year under similar circumstances, Mpandare blamed the media, instead.
No one ever asked that question. We could have responded. But you, reporters, were quiet because some of you want to choose the national team coach. Some reporters have an agenda, he said.
ZNSSA is the same organisation that was quiet when Sunday Chidzambwa was demanding his money from the Wellington Nyatanga-led administration and was also silent when Jose Valinhos sought the assistance of Fifa to recover his unpaid dues.
As a result, Chidzambwa is still owed money, just like Ndlovu and the late Benjamin Moyo. Zifa are
$60 000 poorer after Fifa paid Valinhos and might even fail to get financial assistance funds if they lose the $600 000 Kentaro lawsuit.
Save for Chidzambwa and a combination of Gumbo and Charles Mhlauri, no other Zimbabwe coach has managed to qualify the Warriors for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Chidzambwa was the first in 2004 and had Gumbo as his assistant.
Of late, another supporters organisation, called Friends of the Warriors, has popped up, and like the ZNSSA, is not registered with Zifa. There have been reports of fights between the two organisations, but Mpandare said this was only imagined.
Who says we are fighting? We are not fighting. We are not being funded by other people. We (ZNSSA) are an organised group and we are actually planning for the Mozambique trip for this weekend. We already have four sponsors that will cater for about 4 000 fans for the match against Burundi, all for the love of the Warriors.
Afcon 2013 first leg
Burundi 2-1 Zimbabwe
2014 World Cup qualifier
Zimbabwe 0-1 Guinea
Mapeza (Afcon 2012 qualifiers)
Liberia 1-1 Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe 0-0 Cape Verde Islands (Madinda Ndlovu was co-coach)
Mali 1-0 Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe 2-1 Mali
Zimbabwe 3-0 Liberia
Cape Verde 2-1 Zimbabwe
Player ratings v Guinea (out of 10)
Tapuwa Kapini 6
Oscar Machapa 7
Vusa Nyoni 6
Carlington Nyadombo 8
Esrom Nyandoro 8
Tinashe Nengomasha 6
Archford Gutu 3
Ovidy Karuru 7
Khama Billiart 3
Knowledge Musona 3
Takesure Chinyama 3
Willard Katsande (56 minutes) 7
Denver Mukamba (12 minutes) 5
Terrence Mandaza (17 minutes)-3