TALKS between Norman Mapeza’s handlers and ZIFA, which will see Mapeza bouncing back into the Warriors fold are now set to be concluded by this morning.
Mapeza was expected to be named the Warriors interim coach yesterday, with the former national team skipper being handed the mandate to take charge of the remaining 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
However, talks between the two parties drifted into an extra day although everything has virtually been agreed.
Zimbabwe will travel to Ghana for their next Group G World Cup qualifier, on October 6, before the two teams clash in Harare, four days later.
Both teams are without coaches at the moment after sweeping changes were effected, in their technical departments, this week.
ZIFA were finally forced to bow to the demands of the fans by firing the unpopular and hapless Zdravko Logarusic on Sunday after the coach won just one of his 14 matches, in charge. The Ghana Football Association followed suit, the following day, when they dismissed Black Stars coach, Charles Akonoor, amid the anger which exploded in the country, in the wake of a loss to Bafana Bafana.
Akonoor’s position had come under scrutiny, after a poor run which saw the Black Stars winning just four of the matches, which they played under his guidance.
ZIFA have turned to Mapeza to come in and help stabilise the Warriors ship after they ran into turbulence, under Loga’s chaotic regime.
The expectation was that Mapeza would be unveiled yesterday, but the talks between the two parties spilled into another day although most of the key issues have been agreed to.
Mapeza referred all questions to his manager, Gibson Mahachi, who said that barring any last-minute challenges, an announcement could be made, as early as today.
The association have been very confident from Sunday that they will land their preferred target.
Sources have said should Mapeza impress, he could be considered to take charge of the 2021 AFCON finals in Cameroon next January.
Benjani Mwaruwari, who was wooed back home from England two weeks ago after attaining a UEFA A Licence, is expected to stay put in the interim set-up.
ZIFA board member, Bryton Malandule, who is the chairman of the technical and development committee, said the process to recruit the next Warriors substantive coach will be a thorough exercise.
“The board has already set in motion the process of identifying a new set-up to take over the affairs of the senior national football team,’’ he said.
“We are very confident by tomorrow (today), we should be able to make an announcement. Right now it’s premature for me to go into details because we do not want to jeopardise the processes and the discussions that are currently taking place.
“As a board member, I have the duty to protect the confidential information that is discussed in meetings, unless I have been given the mandate to speak on the subject.
‘‘So we are asking for Zimbabweans to be patient, just for the next 24 hours.
“We know time is not on our side because there are important matches coming up in the next few weeks. But, we still have to do a thorough job in the shortest possible time.
“Remember, we have short-term and long-term fixes that we need to work on. We need a short-term solution now because we do not have enough time, on our hands, before we play our next game.
“The long-term thing will obviously be the normal channel, where an advert will be flighted in the media, and we will receive applications which we will work on.’’
Malandule said they had to act and axed Loga after the Croatian failed to meet a revised target of four points from the opening two matches.
“Results in the games against South Africa and Ethiopia were not pleasing and we did what we had to do as an association. Like, what the president has said, there were targets that the coach was supposed to meet and he failed,” said Malandule. While the Warriors find themselves bottom of the group, with one point, from their opening two matches, they are not out of the race, for a place at the World Cup finals, in Qatar, next year.
However, they now have to possibly win all their remaining four matches, beginning with their battle against the Black Stars next month, to remain in contention.
Bafana Bafana have taken control of the initial third phase of the race after holding the Warriors to a goalless draw in Harare and beating the Black Stars 1-0 in Johannesburg.
However, in both matches, the makeshift Bafana Bafana did not really impose themselves and owed their success, largely to their poor rivals, rather than to their class.