BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Norman Mapeza has saved Zifa a coach crisis after agreeing to hold fort for three months despite the association owing him money from his previous stint with the Warriors.
The former Warriors captain yesterday agreed to a three-month contract where he will double as the Warriors and FC Platinum coach.
After the three months, the two parties will decide if he could take up the job on a permanent basis.
FC Platinum have agreed to the three-month arrangement, but are uncomfortable with a dual role for their coach.
It took some convincing for the national association to lure the 49-year-old tactician.
His manager, Gibson Mahachi admitted to the NewsdaySport yesterday that negotiations almost hit a snag due to the arrears, but Mapeza decided to take on the task for the sake of averting a crisis, following Zdravko Logarušic’s sacking on Sunday.
Mahachi said Mapeza could have easily turned down the offer, but responded because he was patriotic, especially that he had emerged as the fans’ favourite and front-runner for the job.
He will preside on World Cup qualifying matches against Ghana (two matches), South Africa (away from home) and a home match against Ethiopia.
Zimbabwe sacked Zdravko Logarušic after they plunged to the bottom of Group G with a single point from two matches.
The decision left the football mother body scrambling for a replacement with the matches against Ghana only weeks away.
Mahachi said Mapeza considered the situation the country faced and decided to offer his service to avert a national problem.
“When you are called for national duty, you respond, that is what we did with Mapeza,” Mahachi said.
“It’s known that there pending arrears, but for the sake of helping out on the crisis, Mapeza accepted the offer.
“However, we had to negotiate, that’s why we took days. It’s what makes the difference between job negotiations, some even take less than an hour, while some take days.
“Eventually, they are going to settle the debt but for now, he will work on interim basis while they follow their due processes on appointing a substantive coach.
“We are happy and as for the arrangement with FC Platinum arrangement, I am sure it is there but I can’t comment about it.”
Asked if Mapeza is ready to accept the Warriors job on a full-time basis since his contract with FC Platinum is set to lapse by year-end, Mahachi said.
“We wait to see how it unfolds, if he is happy with everything, am sure we will work something out,” he said.
“There are possibilities and we can’t rule them out because no-one knows the future. There are a lot of things to consider, but as for now, we are happy with what is available.”
He will work with Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro (first assistant) and Highlanders’ Mandla Mpofu (second assistant).
Former Warriors goalminder Energy Murambadoro is the new goalkeepers coach.
Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe