Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
CALLISTO PASUWA isn’t joining FC Platinum as a replacement for Norman Mapeza who quit the champions this week, but the pair’s availability in December could provide ZIFA with an interesting scenario in their search for a substantive Warriors’ coach.
Joey Antipas is only set to coach the Warriors, on a caretaker basis, until the end of the year with ZIFA saying a substantive gaffer for the team will be announced thereafter.
The Chicken Inn coach guided the Warriors in their 2022 World Cup preliminary round matches and will take charge of the team in the CHAN qualifier against Lesotho and the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana (home) and Zambia (away) in November.
Mapeza told The Herald on Thursday he was taking a break, after five years in the trenches at FC Platinum, where he guided the Zvishavane side to two league titles and a place in the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
He parted ways with his employers in the week he guided FC Platinum back to the top of the domestic Premiership race.
Reports quickly suggested Pasuwa was set to replace Mapeza at the Zvishavane miners, while social media went into overdrive yesterday suggesting the former Dynamos gaffer waved goodbye to his players at Malawian champions, Big Bullets.
However, FC Platinum president, George Mawere, dismissed the social media speculation.
‘‘It’s all fake news,’’ Mawere said.
Pasuwa’s agent, Gibson Mahachi, also said his client would commit himself to fulfilling his contract in Malawi.
‘‘Pasuwa is contracted at his Malawian club and that remains the story so far and any suggestions otherwise are not true,’’ said Mahachi.
‘‘He has a contract until December and he is fully focused on the club and he is not the kind of person who just makes abrupt decisions.
‘‘Of course, given he is a quality coach, he will always be linked with jobs, especially here in Zimbabwe, when such vacancies become available but what I can tell you is that Pasuwa is fully committed to his work in Malawi.’’
Interestingly, Mahachi is also Mapeza’s manager.
However, with Pasuwa and Mapeza, two of the country’s highly-rated coaches, set to be available in December, it could be an interesting time for ZIFA in their search for a substantive coach for the Warriors.
Both coaches have had a flirtation with the Warriors before and ZIFA bosses even turned to Mapeza, in their recent search for a caretaker coach of the team, before settling on Antipas.
‘‘The guys from ZIFA phoned me some three weeks ago asking about my availability for the national team and . . . I told them I was available just like I was the last time when I was called upon to take care of the game against Liberia,’’ Mapeza told this newspaper last month.
‘‘I told them to, at least, pay me even a quarter of the money they owe me since 2012 and they promised to call back and that was the end of story.’’ Mapeza is owed more than US$100 000 by the association for services rendered to the national team, as caretaker coach, in the past.
The former Warriors skipper said he has been trying to engage ZIFA officials to sort out the issue but he is yet to get any relief although, unlike others, he doesn’t believe in going the route of attaching football property to try and get a settlement to his case.
Pasuwa guided the Warriors to their third appearance at the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon after guiding his team to the top of the table in their qualifying group.
However, he left his post after a fallout with the ZIFA officials amid concerns the team had under-achieved in Gabon.
He has been doing well in Malawi where he guided Big Bullets to the league championship last year, ensuring he has won five straight league titles for the last two clubs he has taken charge of. Currently, Big Bullets, who overhauled their squad at the beginning of the season, are in second place in the championship race behind fierce rivals Be Forward Wanderers. Big Bullets have 32 points, from 16 matches, four points behind the leaders.
‘‘With Pasuwa and Mapeza available for jobs in December, it’s going to be interesting, not only in terms of the Warriors, but many other jobs in the local Premiership, one agent told The Saturday Herald.
‘‘There is no doubt these two guys are highly regarded in local football and I will not even be surprised if Norman, for instance, get a call from a South African club.
‘‘What is interesting, though, is that when you look at the coaches who are either with the Warriors, right now, or are being linked with the team, you will see that these are the guys who have dominated the local Premiership race in the last nine years.
‘‘Antipas won two league titles in 2010 and 2015, his current assistant Lloyd Chitembwe won in 2016, Callisto won between 2011 and 2014, and Norman won in 2017 and 2018.’’
Meanwhile, Antipas has named his CHAN squad for the final qualifier against Lesotho.
- Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
- Maxwell Nyamupanedengu (Harare City)
- Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders)
- Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
- Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders)
- MacClive Phiri (Highlanders)
- Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba)
- Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn)
- Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds)
- Nomore Chinyerere (Hwange)
11.Lawrence Mhlanga (FC Platinum)
- Nqobizitha Masuku (Highlanders)
- Juan Mutudza (Herentals)
- Joel Ngodzo (Caps United)
- Ralph Kawondera (Triangle United)
- Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars)
- Valentine Kadonzvo (Chicken Inn)
- Sipho Ndlovu (Chicken Inn)
- Ian Nyoni (Chapungu)
- Tichaona Chipunza (Chicken Inn)
- Never Tigere (FC Platinum)
- Wellington Taderera (Black Rhinos)
- William Manondo (Harare City)
- Prince Dube (Highlanders)
- Evans Katema (Dynamos)
- Obriel Chirinda (Chicken inn)