Robson Sharuko


ZIFA have once again turned to Norman Mapeza 17 years after they first offered him the job to guide the Warriors.

It has been a chaotic relationship and there have been times, as was the case at the beginning of this romance in 2007, when Mapeza took charge of only ONE game.

That was the final 2008 AFCON qualifier against Malawi at Barbourfields.

Mapeza, who was still a rookie coach, was given the responsibility to plunge into international football coaching, at the relatively young age of 35.

Charles Mhlauri, who was his boss at CAPS United in 2004, quit the Warriors job after their campaign to try and qualify for the 2008 Nations Cup finals ended, with a game still to be played.

Mapeza was thrown into the hot seat, for one game only, and guided his Warriors to a 3-0 win over the Flames.

Ten years later, history would repeat itself when Mapeza once again took charge of just one AFCON qualifier as he led his troops to a 3-0 win over Liberia in a 2019 Nations Cup qualification match.

The mayhem of that period was highlighted by the fact that, at one point, the Warriors literally had three coaches – Mapeza in charge of the AFCON qualifiers, Rahman Gumbo in charge of the CHAN campaign and Chidzambwa in charge of the COSAFA Cup.

And, when one considers the fact that Kalisto Pasuwa’s departure was yet to be formalised, it’s fair to say the Warriors literally had four coaches during that madness.

Before then, all these coaches had, at some stage of their careers, taken sole charge of the Warriors.

Six years earlier, Mapeza had enjoyed yet another flirtation with the Warriors in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers.

Ahead of the 2021 AFCON finals, Mapeza was again handed the mandate to take charge of the Warriors in Cameroon after ZIFA were forced to finally end their disastrous relationship with Croatian comedian Zdravko Logarusic.

The Croat, the worst coach to guide the Warriors, won just one match in 14 assignments.

Now, Mapeza is back for yet another dance with the Warriors, 17 years after his first dance with them.

They say the more things in football, or in ZIFA, the more they stay the same.

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