YOUTH, Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry believes local coaches are the best for the senior men’s football national team.
In an interview, Coventry, who was the guest honour at the Nyanga/Mutasa Community Tournament at DC Mutasa Ground last week on Saturday, said the appointment and tenure of former Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, was a mistake.
She said her office only learnt at a later stage that the Croatian would come into the country when the national team had an assignment and fly out soon after.
“I think the appointment of the new coach is a move in the right direction. We really need someone who understands our game. I might not have been a team player in my days as an athlete, but I have learnt that for anyone to be a good coach, they need to have a better understanding of the players and environment. That is something that lacked under Logarusic. In fact, I only came to learn later that he was flying into the country a few days before an assignment, and would fly out soon after. That is not ideal. It was actually a mistake to have allowed that situation to prevail.
“Now that we have Norman Mapeza, it is a step in the right direction. I hope going into the future we will continue embracing some of our former players, and give them roles in our national team technical set up. We really need these former players because of their deeper understanding of the environment and style of play,” said the Olympian.
The Sports Minister echoed ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo’s sentiments that Mapeza should be given more time to assemble a team for the future.
“We all know the circumstances in which Norman Mapeza came in. We were not playing football locally, and the preparations were not what things ought to be. Therefore, there is really no reason to judge him based on matches that were played with that background. We need to have him more time to look at all local players since they are now returning to action. Even the travelling restrictions because of Covid-19 negatively impacted on Mapeza’s plans,” she said.
The ZIFA president also noted the haphazard administrative process leading to the back-to-back tie against the Black Stars of Ghana.
On the performance of national associations in the development of sport in the country, Coventry said some of them left a lot to be desired.
She said professional management of national associations was the only way to address lack of sponsorship in sport.
“It is sad that we still have national associations that are being run like tuck-shops. That is not healthy for sport in the country. We really need to up our game in terms of sports management at the level of national associations.
“In fact, you will see that most of the national associations that are crying about lack of sponsorship will have sponsors coming to them in droves if they do things the right way.
“I will not name them because that will not help us as a nation at all, but they know themselves, and they just have to start to do the right thing,” said Coventry.