BY FORTUNE MBELE
FORMER Warriors’ skipper Ephraim “The Rock of Gibraltar” Chawanda has said new Warriors coach Norman Mapeza was the best possible choice to take over the team because he was a strong character who will not succumb to undue interference, especially in player selection.
Chawanda wants Zifa to look no further and drop the appetite for foreign coaches as he believes Mapeza has what it takes to take the team forward.
Mapeza is on a three-month contract where he will preside over four matches as Zimbabwe seek to revive their Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign after the team picked up a single point from their first two matches against South Africa and Ethiopia.
Zimbabwe anchor Group G, three points behind leaders South Africa who won their home match against Ghana.
The Warriors will play Ghana in back-to-back clashes early next month and will seeks positive results to give themselves a fighting chance in a pool where only the top team at the end will qualify to the next stage.
Zifa said that after the three-month probationary period for Mapeza they would invite applications for subtstantive coach, but Chawanda feels Zifa should look no futher than the former Galatasaray defender.
Chawanda, who played for the late Reinhard Fabisch-coached Dream Team, which Mapeza was also part of, is adamant the Warriors do not need a foreign coach.
“I think Mapeza was the right candidate (for the Warriors’ coaching job). Actually any local coach would have been ok, provided that no one imposes players on him. A professional atmosphere is essential, with the technical team and the players bonding in the shortest possible time; of which there is a shortage of as the games are just in a few weeks’ time,” Chawanda said.
When the Warriors were held by South Africa at home, Chawanda slammed then coach Zdravko Logarušić and football authorities.
Ranting on social media, the former Zimbabwe Saints defender said: “We have asked a carpenter to service our Mercedes!”
Chawanda took a swipe at Zifa officials who meddle in team selection and other technical issues.
The Rock of Gibraltar, as he was popularly known during his heyday said the Warriors had quality players and all that was required was a professional approach to the games.
“We need proper organisation and lots of motivation for the players. We have plenty of gifted players: just like I said before, a professional approach is needed. Let everyone around the team or in football administration know their boundaries and duties. If we put confusion or personal interests into the game, we will fall short of the target. It is happening and it has happened during our era,” Chawanda said.
It is not the first time that Zifa has called upon Mapeza to salvage the Warriors, in 2017 he replaced Kalisto Pasuwa and in his first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifier tie the team dispatched Liberia 3-0 at the National Sports Stadium.
After the entire Warriors’ technical team led by Logarušić was shown the door, Taurai Mangwiro and Mandla Mpofu were brought in to replace Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya as assistants, while Energy Murambadoro took over from Tembo Chuma as goalkeepers coach.
Meanwhile, the Black Stars of Ghana, who also fired coach CK Akonnor are yet to make a new appointment with Serbian Milovan Rajevac tipped to take over.
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