The Sunday Mail
Norman Mapeza has quit FC Platinum, 48 hours before the Zvishavane side’s Caf Champions League first-round, first-leg match against UD Songo of Mozambique at Barbourfields.
The highly successful gaffer is now heavily linked with a stunning move to Manica Diamonds who are yet to appoint a substantive coach since the departure of Luke Masomere last month.
Well-placed sources say Mapeza, who finally severed ties with FC Platinum after a documented love-hate relationship with the club’s executive, received a “lucrative” offer last week from Manica Diamonds who are currently under the guidance of Johannes Nhumwa.
However, a statement released by FC Platinum president George Mawere Thursday morning, indicates that Mapeza left the club by mutual consent.
“FC Platinum Club wishes to announce the departure of head coach, Norman Mapeza, from the team through a mutual separation agreement.
“Norman has been with the team for the past five (5) years and the club would like to thank him for his professionalism, dedication and commitment to the achievement of the club objectives.
“During his tenure, the club made history by winning back-to-back League titles and reaching the group stages of the prestigious CAF Champions League.
“The club presidium, fans, executive, management, entire technical and playing staff wish him well in his future endeavours. In the interim, Lizwe Sweswe will be the acting head coach,” read a statement from Mawere.
There are strong chances that Sweswe, a former head coach at relegated Tsholotsho FC, will be in charge for the rest of season as Pure Platinum Play, who regained pole position last Sunday, seek to win a third straight Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.
Mapeza won two back-to-back league titles, the Chibuku Super Cup and the Castle Challenge Cup before reaching the group stages of the 2018 Caf Champions League during a fruitful five-year reign that also saw him being named Castle Lager Coach of the Year twice in a row.
Mapeza’s departure might also trigger the Zimbabwe Football Association into action as there are some within the Zifa board who believe the gaffer might still be convinced to make a return to the Warriors’ job currently held by interim coach Joey Antipas.
Although the official line is that Mapeza and FC Platinum parted amicably, some sources say Mapeza clashed with the executive over the way the club handled their transfer business at the beginning of the season when the gaffer was away on sick leave.
FC Platinum also lost a number of key players in July, throwing Mapeza’s Caf Champions League plans off the course.
The Moyo twins Elvis and Kelvin, Edwin Madhanaga and Ali Sadiki are some of the key players who left the Zimbabwean champions.
“Mapeza was operating with a thin squad especially after the departure of those key players. It was always going to catch up with him and he knew he wouldn’t perform well in this year’s Caf Champions League campaign.
“That 3-2 win over Nyasa Bullets of Malawi in the preliminary round exposed the team. But it also boils down to the fact that Mapeza was never co-operative when he was consulted about the transfer targets during the time he was away on sick leave.
“There was a bit of arrogance on the part of the coach and the executive reached a point where they could no longer handle him (Mapeza),” the source said.