Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
PROPHET Walter Magaya yesterday said he didn’t fire Jairos Tapera from his job as Yadah Stars coach, but reassigned the gaffer to take up a new coaching position at a club the PHD Ministries leader is creating in South Africa.
Tapera’s absence from the bench when Yadah Stars crashed to a 1-4 humbling defeat at the hands of championship leaders Ngezi Platinum in Mhondoro on Wednesday, with the coach choosing to watch a league match at Rufaro featuring Harare City and Shabanie Mine, sparked another wave of speculation about the relationship between the gaffer and his employers.
It’s the second time that Tapera has missed a Yadah match this season and Magaya told The Herald that the coach, who was at the club’s complex in Waterfalls yesterday, had been reassigned to take charge of a football project in South Africa.
“The coach has not been fired, instead he has been promoted to go and work at a football project that we are starting in South Africa, a club that we believe will be playing in the ABSA Premiership in not too distant a future,’’ said Magaya.
“His promotion was necessitated by the fact that he is someone who understands working in South Africa, which he was doing just before he came to take charge of Yadah FC and this football project will feature my children who are in South Africa, where we have a huge following as a ministry and where they have been calling on us to establish a similar football project like Yadah FC.
“I have two children who own football clubs in South Africa and now we are establishing a football project down there, which will not only be for those who are part of our ministry, but even the South Africans themselves.
“Coach Tapera is going to oversee the development of that project in terms of the technical aspects and he now fully understands what we expect from the people we ask to be our head coaches and we are hopeful that things will work to our expectations.’’
Magaya’s revelation of his South African project, where football is backed financially, sparked speculation last night that the football-mad prophet could be lost to the Zimbabwean game soon as he shifts his focus to his new venture.
He didn’t address those issues, but reiterated that he has always considered the Warriors to be far bigger and more important than Yadah FC.
“My country comes first and that is why the Warriors, to me, are more important than Yadah FC because they are a big part of who I am,’’ he said.
Magaya said the initial phase of establishing Yadah FC as a Premiership club was over and, even though some targets had been missed, he was still happy that the project had fulfilled its main objective.
“Yadah FC is a club whose main objective is to give a home to footballers who subscribe to our vision to take away youngsters from the temptations of being lured into drugs and other vices and, instead, we help them express their talent with their hearts and minds fully occupied by the Lord and for them to know that juju has no place in this game,’’ he said.
“We pray for them to become better people, better individuals and better footballers and that is why we are happy that when we look at Rodreck Mutuma today, we don’t see the person whom many were dismissing as a lost boy and you only need to look at his hairstyle now to see what we are trying to drive at.
“He resembles the disciple who now has the love of both life and love and that is what we are targeting at achieving in these projects and our success is measured in seeing someone like Brian Mapfumo, whom football was on the verge of forgetting, being revived into this fine athlete again and many others I won’t mention today who have been blessed.’’
Magaya, also revealed he intends to create a competitive Christian League in this country if it’s permitted by the laws of this nation. He said Tapera’s replacement at Yadah FC would be “someone who has the qualities of embracing the values of what we stand for”.
While he didn’t disclose the names who have been earmarked for the job, The Herald was advised late last night that an ambitious mission to try and lure former Warriors coach Charles Mhlauri from his base in the United States was already in full throttle.
Other sources said ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa and former AmaZulu coach Joey Antipas, who won league championships with Chicken Inn and Motor Action, were part of those being targeted.
“What I can only tell you, authoritatively, is that Yadah FC will not be relegated this season,’’ said Magaya.