Mapeza lives in two worlds

Langton Nyakwenda
AS he watched his squad in camp at Yadah Complex in Harare last week, caretaker senior men’s national soccer team coach Norman Mapeza’s mind drifted.

His mind wandered back to Zvishavane, where his FC Platinum tackle Shabanie Mine in an explosive derby at Maglas this afternoon. The Zvishavane derby is never short of emotions and Mapeza appreciates what a win over the Chinda Boys means to his team’s executive and fans. “My mind is at FC Platinum but I am here,” said the former Warriors midfielder after Wednesday morning’s work out.

Mapeza loves the Warriors job but also appreciates that FC Platinum is where his bread is buttered, hence he tries his best to juggle the two assignments. “The task I have is not easy but this is national duty you cannot say no to the Warriors,” he added. Mapeza has shuttled between Harare and Zvishavane since his appointment as caretaker coach in March. His employers at FC Platinum have publicly stated that they are ready “to assist the nation”, but when they meet in their boardroom at Mandava Stadium, they wonder if Mapeza will be able to carry out the dual roles.

The Pure Platinum Play executive believes they have a good chance of finally winning the league this year and ideally they would want their gaffer exclusively focusing on that dream. However, they also appreciate what the Warriors jobs means to Mapeza. “This is not ideal but we mustn’t forget that it’s not a permanent arrangement. Anyone could have come in and taken charge of the team but as for now it’s me who is in charge and have to give it my best shot,” Mapeza said.

In the Warriors camp, Mapeza had to make do without his assistant Tonderayi Ndiraya, who was reportedly barred from reporting for duty by his club employers at Ngezi Platinum. Despite that setback, the interim gaffer was happy with the ground covered before breaking camp on Thursday. “The response from the players was fantastic, they showed a lot of commitment and that’s good for us. We got an appreciation of what we have and what we can do. The camping conditions are also superb and the players love it.”

Netherlands-based Marvelous Nakamba, Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Kuda Mahachi (Golden Arrows), Evans Rusike (Maritzburg), Eric Chipeta (Ajax Cape Town), Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans) and Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu) were the foreign-based players who reported for duty during the two-day workout.

Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Onismor Bhasera and goalkeeper George Chigova are expected in camp this week.

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