NORMAN Mapeza’s five-year reign at FC Platinum has come to an end after the club announced his resignation with immediate effect.
The Zvishavane-based club has appointed Lizwe Sweswe, a former Tsholotsho FC gaffer, as the interim head coach.
Sweswe worked with Mapeza for slighty over two and a half years having joined FC Platinum from the now defunct Tsholotsho FC in 2017.
Mapeza’s sudden departure comes just days before the reigning Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions take on Mozambique’s UD Songo in the first leg of the Total Caf Champions League first round match at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
“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,” said club president George Mawere in a statement.
The ex-Warriors coach won back to back Castle Lager Premiership titles during his tenure at FC Platinum as well as reaching the group stages of the Caf Champions League.
The 2019 season has been particularly difficult for Mapeza after he lost key players without meaningful replacements; a situation he said stretched his squad to the limit.
FC Platinum lost twins Elvis and Kelvin Moyo to Chippa United while Farai Madhanhanga is now at Bidvest Wits in South Africa.
Other players who have left the club are midfielder Ali Sadiki who is now at Kabwe Warriors in Zambia while Godknows Murwira made a return to Dynamos on loan.
The club started feeling the heat in the league and the usually conservative Mapeza let out his frustrations of losing key players to the media in an interview last month.
“We have lost players and it’s not going to be easy. We have been trying to work on combinations, but we are struggling in terms of consistency.
“This week (Kelvin) Madzongwe is playing as a centre-back, next week he is playing as a midfielder. We have lost the core of the team and it is difficult building another during the middle of the season,” he said.
Broadcaster Steve Vickers seemed to suggest that Mapeza packed his bags and left Zvishavane in frustration over CAF Champions League monies.
“Mapeza now on his way to Harare from Zvishavane. FCP host Songo of Moz in CAFCL on Saturday. He is unhappy over transparency of player transfers and transparency of Champions League income,” said Vickers in a tweet.