WARRIORS’ interim coach Norman Mapeza is not looking beyond Zimbabwe’s international friendly against Zambia on Sunday, but has called on the selected players to take the game seriously.
In his first interview since being appointed into the caretaker role on Tuesday night, Mapeza revealed that he will have to think first before accepting the job on a full time basis.
“I am not a full time coach so I should not talk beyond Sunday. It is not an easy challenge (coaching Warriors) because I am also at FC Platinum. It is something I need to think about,” said Mapeza at the Zifa Village yesterday.
Commenting on the importance of Sunday’s friendly against Chipolopolo, Mapeza said: “It is a friendly match yes, but we have to take it seriously. Zambia have called in what I believe is a strong team so we have to also treat the game with respect. Who knows there might be some people watching our players.”
Seventeen out of 23 players called into camp had reported at the Zifa Village by last night. Missing are Chicken Inn defender Teenage Hadebe, who has been ruled out through injury as well as the South Africa-based duo of strikers Evans Rusike and Tendai Ndoro, who are yet to arrive. Ndoro and Rusike are doubtful for the match.
The Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United strikers were the only foreign based strikers in Mapeza’s 23-man squad, but their availability is now in doubt after Zifa sent their invites late.
“There are issues with Ndoro and Evans because their clubs were notified late so they can choose to say no we are not releasing the players. We also have a setback with Hadebe, who is injured and has been ruled out of the tie,” said Warriors’ interim manager Wellington Mpandare.
Mapeza is, however, hopeful Ndoro and Rusike will arrive in time for the friendly, but will be left with no option but to call in replacements if they don’t pitch up.
“Obviously we will consider replacing them if they don’t come,” said Mapeza.
The Highlanders’ duo of veteran goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and young striker Prince Dube had also not reported for camp by last night and are unlikely to join the squad since Bosso are taking on Caps United in the ZNA Commander’s Charities Shield final at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.