Paul Mundandi, Harare Bureau
NORMAN MAPEZA has bounced back as the interim Warriors coach and will be in charge when a team made up of mainly home-based players host Zambia in an international friendly at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The former Zimbabwe captain coached the team during the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers before he was banned from the game by Zifa for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scam.
Mapeza professed his innocence and claimed he was being targeted by the domestic football leadership.
He is expected to announce the squad that will face Zambia this afternoon.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa says they want the coach to cast his net wider so that the country can have a look at some of the players who can make the grade for the national team.
If there are any foreign-based players, to feature against Zambia, they are likely to be from South Africa with Evans Rusike and Tendai Ndoro set to get a call.
Zifa had been hoping to also bring in Khama Billiat but the Mamelodi Sundowns forward is currently battling injury.
“Zifa have appointed Norman Mapeza as interim coach of the Warriors. Details of the squad and other members of the technical team will be announced tomorrow (today),” said Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.
The Association vice-president Omega Sibanda said Mapeza will take charge of the Warriors on an ad-hoc basis while he continues with his job at FC Platinum until Zifa appoint a substantive head coach.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, whom the Warriors face in the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers, are also led by a coach who also doubles as the gaffer of Kinshasa giants AS Vita.
Forent Ibenge has since led the DRC to third place at the 2015 Afcon finals and a quarter-final place at the 2017 Nations Cup finas.
He also guided his club to the final of the Caf Champions League.
Meanwhile, Chiyangwa says Zifa now have the resources to pay off former Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa.
The Harare businessman told ZBC’s weekly Monday football magazine programme, Game Plan, that Pasuwa, whose contract was not renewed last month, will soon be paid.
Chiyangwa said he had been impressed with the way Pasuwa has conducted himself, since the two parties decided to call time on their marriage, and Zifa were looking at sending him to Europe to boost his qualifications.
The Zifa boss did not rule out Pasuwa bouncing back as the Warriors coach.