|Mapeza for CAPS Utd?|
|Tuesday, 08 May 2012 01:06|
. . . Connor has one match to save his job
Norman Mapeza set to be handed the baton should the Northern Irishman fail.
The CAPS United leadership had decided to hand all the club’s technical responsibilities to Lloyd Chitembwe with the Northern Irishman assuming a ceremonial role in the coaching set-up.
But Connor insisted that he would have transformed the Green Machine into a winning team in three games, and was given the benefit of the doubt.
Interestingly, Mapeza has emerged as their choice as they seek to breathe life into the team.
That Super Green Machine lost just one game in the league, at home versus Highlanders in a seven-goal thriller, and did not lose any match on the road.
“But there are a lot of sticking points as Norman’s hands are tied by his contract with Zifa.”
Mapeza is understood to be close to Chitembwe and the two grew up together in Chitungwiza and played in the same Darryn T side in the 1990s before they moved to Poland.
Mapeza, however, dismissed claims that he was talking to the CAPS United leadership as “mere rumours’’ saying he refuted similar claims last week when he had been linked with the FC Platinum job.
“I am still to speak to anybody about coaching any team and it is all rumours,” Mapeza said.
CAPS United director, Jere, acknowledged the pedigree of Mapeza, who won the league title with Monomotapa in 2008, but refused to be drawn into discussing whether his team had immediate plans to engage the coach.
The Herald, however, has been informed that Mapeza’s links to the national team are being liquidated and he will have no strings attached to the Warriors through an exit package to be agreed by Zifa and the youthful coach.
His Zimbabwean agents, who are based in Ireland, were looking for an African adventure for the Northern Irishman and got in touch with CAPS United president, Phiri, starting the negotiations that culminated in Connor being given the job.
But Chitembwe, who told his players on Saturday that he would make a big decision within 24 hours, has maintained that he is too professional to be involved in sabotaging the team that pays his salary.
Other fans question why the directors decided to bring a fresh man on board, and give him full control of the technical team despite his limited knowledge of Zimbabwean football, especially against a background of Chitembwe’s brilliant run with the team when he was handed the challenge to save it from relegation last season.
A resurgent Green Machine played with a swagger, in the closing stages of last season, and even held FC Platinum to a 1-1 draw at Mandava, a result that had a huge bearing in the outcome of the championship race.
Some even claim the team has been cursed and on Saturday, when a ball destined to go home suddenly changed course and drifted wide, that group of fans claimed that was evidence to back their claims.
None of the CAPS United infield players has scored a goal this season with their only goal coming from the penalty spot, converted by goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda.
In the opening match they managed a goalless draw against Shabanie away at Maglas before losing 0-2 to Chicken Inn.
The fans have even invoked the spirit of their late player Blessing “Yogo Yogo” Makunike — who died along with two other players Gary Mashoko and Shingirayi Arlon and two fans, on their way from a match in Bulawayo in 2004 — to help them through the stormy waters.