BY HENRY MHARA
ZIFA are considering Norman Mapeza and Taurai Mangwiro as possible replacements for Zdravko Logarušic as Warriors coach after the Croat was sacked by the country’s football governing body yesterday.
Logarušic’s two-year contract, which was set to expire in February next year, was terminated following a meeting by Zifa’s full executive committee to review the team’s performance against South Africa and Ethiopia, in their opening World Cup qualifiers last week.
Logarušic had overseen a run of one win, seven defeats and four draws during a forgottable tenure. Frustrated fans were baying for his blood.
Under pressure from the supporters and other football stakeholders, Zifa finally yielded and wielded the axe on the coach and disbanded the entire technical team which included assistants Tonderai Ndiraya, Lloyd Chitembwe and the recently appointed Benjani Mwaruwari.
But with the World Cup qualifiers resuming in the first week of October with back-to-back clashes against Ghana and the Africa Cup of Nations finals coming up in January, Zifa has to find suitable replacements as soon as possible.
Fans are pushing for the association to appoint a local coach.
Sources yesterday disclosed that the Zifa board had picked former Warriors coach and current FC Platinum coach Mapeza as their first option.
In the event that they fail to persuade the former Warriors captain, they have lined up Mangwiro.
“A number of names were discussed in the meeting. So far the priority is Norman Mapeza and is the frontrunner for the job. Fans are demanding for a local coach, but the options are really limited if we want to be honest. If we fail to get Mapeza then Taurai Mangwiro is the best next option available,” said a source who attended the meeting.
Mangwiro is currently coaching league side Triangle.
“The committee that deals with that has started engaging Mapeza and his management. There has been preliminary engagements but we expect full discussions when he arrives back home from Angola. If we agree with him then we will communicate with his current employers,” the source added.
FC Platinum are expected back home today from Angola where they played a Caf Champions League match on Saturday.
The source said Zifa intended to appoint him on a caretaker basis and would make the contract permanent if he impresses.
“This is a stop-gap measure because we have important assignments coming up. Corporate governance demands that we have to advertise the post for a substantive coach but because of the matches coming up, we have to have a coach who will take charge of the team. If whoever will be appointed as the caretaker coach impresses, then he will be appointed coach permanently,” the source said.
Zifa in a statement to announce the departure of Logarušic, said an interim technical team would be announced soon.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that it has amicably parted ways with senior men’s team coach Zdravko Logarušic. The decision was arrived at upon consideration by the full executive committee of all the various relevant circumstances pertaining to the coach’s contract. The entire technical team has also been disbanded. The appointment of the interim technical team shall be announced in due course as the executive committee has already set in motion the process,” said Zifa yesterday evening.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara