Paul Mundandi Sports Reporter
NORMAN MAPEZA says he will never turn down an opportunity to serve his country and will always be there for the Warriors when called upon to work for the team.
Mapeza is employed by FC Platinum as head coach and has been tasked with leading the Warriors until a full-time coach is appointed.
He will mark his return into the trenches when his men host Zambia in an international friendly at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Mapeza, who guided the Warriors during their 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers in a campaign that was disrupted by ZIFA, says he has always been open to serve his country.
He, however, says a decision rests with his employers.
FC Platinum boss George Mawere is currently out of the country on business.
There is a possibility that ZIFA could ask Mapeza to take charge of the Warriors’ opening 2019 Nations Cup qualifier against Liberia on home soil in June.
It’s the only big game the Warriors have to take care of this year and such an arrangement will see Mapeza doubling as the FC Platinum gaffer giving ZIFA enough time to get the coach they want.
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa revealed on Monday it was possible Callisto Pasuwa, whose contract was not renewed at the end of last month, could bounce back as Warriors’ coach.
Chiyangwa told the ZTV football magazine programme, Game Plan, that he intends to send Pasuwa for further studies in Europe to ensure he has the right credentials to do well at national team level.
The Harare businessman said he has been impressed by Pasuwa’s conduct since the two parties parted ways at the end of February.
The Warriors are in the same Nations Cup group as the DRC whose coach, Florent Ibenge, also doubles up as the gaffer of Kinshasa giants AS Vita.
“Everything depends on my club and it’s not a decision I will make on my own,’’ Mapeza said when asked if he could consider taking over as substantive Warriors coach.
“I believe that out of ten people, if two people can appreciate me it means a lot to me. I will always appreciate the love and the support I got from the Warriors fans.
“I received a lot of support from the people of this country when I was a player and then a coach and it was not wise for me to say no. It is because of them and I need to be with them on Sunday.
“My appointment came as a surprise to me, there are problems that happened before, but life goes on. This is my country and I feel it’s my duty to serve it each time I am wanted to do so.
“I was not bitter when I was removed from the coaching post. They made their decision and I had to move on with my life. I am just here for the national cause.’’
Mapeza wants his men to win on Sunday.
Defender Teenage Hadebe failed to report for camp because of injury.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare was also not sure if the South Africa-based duo of Tendai Ndoro and Evans Rusike would make it.
Mapeza also invited the media to come and watch his team’s training session.
He says the national team belongs to everyone and nothing should ever be done behind closed doors.
“I have worked with Mapeza before. We are brothers and almost daily we chat on WhatsApp. When he was appointed he said he was willing to work with me and my hope and prayers are that he be appointed the national team coach,’’ said Mpandare.
“His CV says it all. He has been in Europe, he won the championship with Monomotapa in 2008 and he is hungry for success with the Warriors. He is a hard worker who is versatile.’’