Hope Chizuzu, Sports Reporter
HARARE – The script has changed. The script writers have learnt a thing or two. The setting is absolutely different. And, yes, and the main actor died and was replaced, so the story is definitely one set to captivate the audience.
When the Warriors fly out via Johannesburg at lunchtime, Loga will not be there. Tonde Ndiraya will be busy with Dynamos. Lloyd Chitembwe will be at Harare City plotting the Chibuku Cup coup. Tembo Chuma won’t be there either.
Crucially Norman Mapeza will be the main actor and his cast will be supported by Taurai Mangwiro, Mandla Mpofu and Energy Murambadoro. In a show of seriousness and respect of the Zimbabwe audience, Zifa have seen the light and recalled arguably the best sports medicine doctor in Africa, Dr. Nic Munyonga.
He needs no introduction to these territories. He has been a mainstay for the Warriors and his absence since 2017 has been telling.
Zifa actually hit the low of lows when allowing Dr. Ndlovu who is in school in Sweden to miss classes to come down for the South Africa and Ethiopia matches as if this country is in short supply of the same.
Not only that the horror film they were shooting and showing also had a dour soundtrack of Nyasha Charandura of Azam as if we couldn’t find the same at home.
Well, the one point from a possible six jolted Zifa to life and now we have new actors. At least the appointment of Mapeza silenced the TD Mutekede project which ran the show during Loga’s Indian ocean reign of chaos.
It gathered no moss and harvested a lot of controversies, even long after he is gone. With Mapeza back and Munyonga in the mix, we are guaranteed a show of professionalism and content.
Of course, Welly Mpandare remains as manager as did several players, but the Mapeza signature is sure to be written in Cape Coast on Saturday. Already the skipper knowledge Musona is in Ghana waiting for the troops to mount. Brilliant commitment.
Excellent logistical exercise by Zifa and crew. The British brigades, an enclave of many mafia gaps during Muteke-Loga enterprise, are going straight from their bases. This is exactly what Mapeza asked for and Dr Munyonga weighed in with his advice, having calculated jet legging and zoning for the said athletes.
It is already scientific planning and preparation of the match. This is what the movie requires. Put in all pieces and allow the actors the freedom to perform on a cleared platform.
Ghana who like us, have a new coach in Milo Rajevic who is ironically also returning to the post, are under more pressure to win than Mapeza. Not that the former Galatasaray man, doesn’t want the win.
“We are going there to perform. Excuses do not play football, players do. Let us see what happens, we will be ready for the game,” Mapeza told The Page.
Zimbabwe will do well to win the back to back to put themselves back into contention for Qatar 2022. They play Ghana at home next Tuesday. They have one point from the opening draw against South Africa, who now top the group with four points while Ghana and Ethiopia have three points each.
Ghana beat Ethiopia, who beat us while South Africa also beat Ghana. Zimbabwe is the only side yet to win in two games of these qualifiers. It may change on Saturday.
- Hope Chizuzu is a investigative journalist based in Harare. He can be contacted on Twitter @Hchizuzu or WhatsApp +263715001628