BY FORTUNE MBELE
WARRIORS goalkeepers’ coach Pernell Mckop has hinted that he would recommend veteran goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini for another shot at the national team level.
Mckop told NewsDay Sport yesterday that he would try to influence coach Zdravko Logarusic to consider Kapini as one of the team’s goalkeepers.
Kapini (36) was recently offloaded by South African Premier Soccer League side Highlands Park and on Tuesday signed for second-tier league GladAfrica Championship side Sekhukhune United.
“Goalkeepers like Joseph-Antoine Bell and Thomas N’Kono (both Cameroon) played for their country in their late 30s. Dino Zoff (Italy) won the World Cup at 41. So if Tapuwa is still in a good way, mentally and physically and he is in good form playing for his club, and depending on the national coach and his ideas going forward, he could still be called up.”
The last Africa Cup of Nations squad called up in March before COVID-19 struck had Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa and Elvis Chipezeze who plays for Baroka in South Africa.
Logarusic is eyeing players based in Europe and South Africa for the next set of qualifiers that are coming this November against Algeria.
Mckop said he was happy Kapini had found a new home, adding that the South African second-tier league was tougher than the top-flight.
“I am happy for him (Kapini) that they (Sekhukhune) have shown confidence in him and his experience,” Mckop said.
He compared Kapini to the late former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Arthur Bartman, who signed for the South African giants when he was over 36, but still commanded the first team jersey ahead of a then young Itumeleng Khune.
”I worked with the late Arthur Bartman at Bay United when they were promoted to the PSL in 2007. At that time Arthur was 36 years old and was already in the PSL for 20 years. After that season, even though the team were relegated because of the outstanding performances of the late Bartman, Kaizer Chiefs came in and signed him on a three-year deal where he went on to play for another season and was very successful playing ahead of Itumeleng Khune.”
The former Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints goalkeeper wants to see Kapini succeed at his new club.
“Tapuwa has had an amazing career and has shown his quality and longevity in a very demanding league. The Glad Africa Championship has always been said to be harder than the PSL, so he is going to have to really call on his experience to navigate his way through a very difficult league. If he continues to work hard I can see him being successful,” Mckop said.
Kapini signed a one-year contract with an option for an extension. He hinted that he wanted to end his career at Highlanders where he had a successful spell between 2001 and 2006 before he moved to South