Mhofu backs Mapeza

Norman Mapeza

VETERAN coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambga has implored Zifa to give Warriors coach Norman Mapeza a long-term contract despite the team’s failure to achieve set targets at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon.

Mapeza presided over a single win — against Guinea — in the three group matches after watching his charges succumb to defeats against Senegal and Malawi and now faces an uncertain future with the national team.

Chidzambga, who took the Warriors to two Afcon finals, in 2004 and 2019, opined that the team’s failure was due to lack of continuity, where coaches are changed regularly.

Kalisto Pasuwa took the Warriors to the Afcon finals in 2017, where they also failed to reach the knockout stages before he was dismissed.

Since Pasuwa left, Zimbabwe has had Chidzambga, Joey Antipas, Zdravco Logarusic and Mapeza as national team coaches.

Chidzambga wants Mapeza to be given more time with the national team for continuity’s sake and also believes he is currently the right person to be at the helm of the Warriors.

Zimbabwe kick start their 2023 Afcon campaign in March. The draw for the qualifiers is yet to be conducted.

Chidzambga believes the Warriors are victims of a failed system and called for continuity.

He said the major problem was not the coach, but failure by the leaders of the game to implement a sound junior policy as well as chopping and changing coaches.

“I think our problem lies in the system we have in place. We don’t have a sound junior policy to ensure we continue to produce more talent. The other problem is that we keep changing coaches, we don’t believe in continuity,” he said.

“So it becomes difficult for us to progress as a football nation under these circumstances. Look at Germany, how long have they been with Joachim Löw, 15 years. I believe Mapeza should be given the chance to continue and we put the right systems in place if we are to succeed as a nation.”

The Zifa board is still suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and it remains to be seen whether there will be changes to the technical team led by Mapeza.

Only the board has the power to appoint a national team coach and Mapeza will get to know whether he will take charge of the team for the 2023 edition, whose finals will be hosted by Ivory Coast in June, after Zifa-SRC impasse has been resolved.

The Felton Kamambo-led board has been summoned to an emergency general meeting on January 29, where some members of the executive committee are likely to be dismissed.

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