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Mapeza puts faith ‘in God’s hands’‚ but his fate in Chippa Mpengesi’s

Chippa United Chairman Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi introduces and welcomes newly appointed head Coach Norman Mapeza.
Chippa United Chairman Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi introduces and welcomes newly appointed head Coach Norman Mapeza.

Newly-appointed Chippa United coach Norman Mapeza is not fazed at the frequency at which club owner Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi pulls the trigger on coaches‚ and said he will leave his fate at the Port Elizabeth-based outfit in “God’s hands.”

The Zimbabwean was last week handed the Chippa coaching job – perceived by many as a poisoned chalice – on a three-year contract.

He replaced two caretaker-coaches – Duran Francis and Mbuyiselo Sambo – who had survived just a combined three matches between them in that capacity following the sacking on September 16 of head coach Clinton Larsen‚ who had taken charge of five games.

Should he see out his contract at Chippa‚ Mapeza will become the longest-serving coach at the club.

The 47-year-old former Zimbabwe international midfield and defensive star was announced as the new Chippa coach on October 1‚ making him the club’s fourth boss in 14 days.

But Mapeza is not bothered that he could be next in the firing line of the trigger-happy club owner.

“Look‚ in this industry as coaches it’s either you resign or you get sacked. At the end of the day football is about the results‚” Mapeza told TimesLIVE from Port Elizabeth.

The ex-Zimbabwe national team head coach arrived in the Friendly City on Monday and attended his first training session on Tuesday at the club’s base at 70 Prince Alfred Road in North End.

“I was there just to see the environment and the players. It was a day for me to just meet the players. I didn’t do much in terms of getting them to do what I want to do with them‚” he said.

Mapeza will take charge of his first match in the Telkom Knockout first round on the weekend of October 19 to 22 at home against Bloemfontein Celtic‚ followed by an away league match to Highlands Park on October 26.

“With these two weeks [for the Fifa international break] I will have ample time to analyse each and every situation‚ what really went wrong and what was happening before I came here‚” he said.

“What really transpired in those eight games before I came. I think everybody understands the situation at the moment that we need to move away from that position.”

With Chippa propping up the Absa Premiership table on four points from eight matches and being the only team yet to win a game this season‚ Mapeza takes up his new job and immediately has a “dead man walking” label on his back.

“I will be honest with you‚ it is not easy for someone to come and take the club at this stage of the season‚ and looking at where they are at the moment‚ and promise everybody that I will win the league.

“I think I will be insane if I think or say that‚” said Mapeza‚ who spent five years with FC Platinum in Zimbabwe and guided them to back-to-back title wins in 2017 and 2018.

The eight months Larsen spent with Chippa from January to September this year ranks him as the club’s second longest-serving coach. Dan Malesela holds the record of 14 months.

“The two years‚ the three years‚ the five-year contracts and all that‚ you know‚ those things are just a number‚” Mapeza said.

“Whatever will happen in the next weeks or in the next two months or three months is not for me to judge because we don’t know what the future holds for us.

“I will leave everything in God’s hands. I’m sure there is a reason why I am here today.

“If I was someone who could have just said‚ ‘No look‚ this team is struggling and they always have coaches sacked after a short while’‚ then I could have just stayed in Zimbabwe. Everything that happens in life happens for a reason‚” said Mapeza‚ who spent a season as a player with Ajax Cape Town in 2005.