BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Norman Mapeza has been linked with a move to Manica Diamonds following his surprise resignation as FC Platinum coach yesterday ahead of the team’s Caf Champions League clash with Mozambique side UD Songo at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Even though there had been tension between the coach who gave the team their two league titles and the club executive over a number of issues, Mapeza’s departure came as a surprise to the FC Platinum camp who are currently focused on preparation for their match tomorrow.
The former Warriors coach tendered his resignation in the morning yesterday, ending a five-year stint where he won various silverware for the club.
Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Lizwe Sweswe has been thrust into the top seat on an interim basis.
A statement by club president George Mwere did not disclose the reasons behind Mapeza’s departure, but sources told NewsDay Sport that Mapeza had clashed with the club leadership over the months. However, Manica Diamonds are believed to have persuaded him to join them.
“FC Platinum club wishes to announce the departure of head coach Norman Mapeza from the team through mutual separation agreement,” Mawere’s statement read.
“Norman has been with the club for the past five years and the club would like to thank him for his professionalism, dedication and commitment to the achievement of the club’s objectives.
“During his tenure, the club made history by winning back-to-back league titles and reaching the group stages of the prestigious Caf Champions League.
“The club presidium, fans, executive, management, the entire technical team and playing staff wish him well in his future endeavours.”
A source told NewsDay Sport that: “There has been tension between him and the club executive, particularly over player transfers. Numerous players have left the club and he was not happy with some of the replacements. Even before the start of the season, he was not happy that some of the players had their contracts renewed against his wish. So there has been a lot of tension and the executive was struggling to handle him. He was not happy with the squad at his disposal, particularly for the Caf Champions League. But it seems his decision was also influenced in part by an offer from Manica Diamonds who were after his services.”
Mapeza joined the Zvishavane side in 2014 when he replaced Lloyd Mutasa, to establish himself as a doyen of football in the mining town after helping then win back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
He also helped them win two Chibuku Challenge Cups, while also engineering their breakthrough to the group stage of the Caf Champions League in the 2018/19 edition of the premier club competition.
The former Galatasaray man also earned himself two Coach of the Year accolades in 2017 and 2018 following laudable exploits at the helm of the club.
Last year, he was involved in a physical confrontation with defender Gift Belo before he had another with an unnamed club executive member.