Norman Mapeza likely to feel the heat with Chilli Boys

Zimbabwe's Norman Mapeza is Chippa United's new coach
Zimbabwe's Norman Mapeza is Chippa United's new coach
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Incoming Chippa United coach Norman Mapeza will have a lot on his plate when he takes over the distressed Absa Premiership side.

The Chilli Boys are at rock bottom on the log after their 1-0 loss to Bidvest Wits at the Sisa Dikashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Tuesday.

The defeat saw the Port Elizabeth side extend their winless run in the league to eight matches this season.

Chippa named the Zimbabwean international as the club’s new coach on Tuesday, but assistant coach Mbuyiselo Sambu was on the bench for the Wits fixture as Mapeza is awaiting his work permit.

Sambu, who replaced dismissed caretaker coach Duran Francis on Monday, said he would have loved to get at least a point from Tuesday night’s game.

“A draw would have been a motivating factor for them [players] going to the Highlands Park game, but unfortunately it was not meant to be,” the former Free State Stars defender said.

“I think we still have players who are mature enough to make sure they are not looking down and to take the positives out of this game, because I think we gave a lot in terms of trying to get something from the game,” Sambu said.

“So, I think that is something that was a motivation factor for us, but it was just disappointing not to get the points from the game.

“We started a bit slow, understandably so, because the [team’s] confidence is not that high.

“But I think in the second half we came back stronger and we got a few chances in between.

“However, we were playing in patches because we did not push enough numbers going forward, so that is all we were lacking,” Sambu said.

“Towards the end, when we were thinking of closing the shots with five minutes on the clock, they scored.

“I think that is where the lack of concentration was.

“The corner kick was not even that dangerous, but then the players could not attack the ball.”

The coach said going forward they needed to work on the mental strength of the players.

Mapeza, 47, who enjoyed back-to-back title wins in 2017 and 2018 with his former side FC Platinum, comes in at a time when Chippa are struggling in the relegation zone.

At least he will have three weeks with the team before his first official match with Chippa, which will be against Highlands Park.