Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
NORMAN MAPEZA’S abrupt resignation has shaken the Chippa United establishment with the club’s main sponsors lashing out at arguably the world’s most chaotic football club.
The team’s culture of chaos has seen more than 20 coaches come and go since they first tasted South African Premiership football eight years ago.
The former Warriors captain and coach, who breathed life into the club by guiding them to their first league win this season, and taking them five points clear of relegation trouble, threw in the towel on Monday.
He finally ran out of patience with the repeated influence, in his work, by some club’s leading officials.
Chippa, as expected, have moved swiftly to find a replacement.
“Following the resignation of Norman Mapeza and acceptance of same by the club, Chippa United FC would like to confirm the appointment of Rulani Mokwena as its new head coach,’’ the club said in a statement.
‘‘Rulani will see the Chilli Boys through the remainder of the current season.
“Having worked with both Mamelodi Sundowns and having steered Orlando Pirates during the current season, Chippa United FC is confident that he will prove to be an asset on all facets, including development.
“Chairman of the club, Mr Siviwe Mpengesi welcomes the head coach and would like to express his appreciation to Orlando Pirates FC and pledges to give the necessary support to coach Rulani.
‘‘The coach is expected to be on the bench when Chippa United FC face Bidvest Wits on Saturday March 7, 2020. He will be assisted by Michael Loftman.’’
Mokwena’s parent club, Pirates, also confirmed the deal.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club can confirm that assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has been seconded to join Absa Premiership outfit Chippa United,” said Pirates in a statement.
“Mokwena, who recently returned from an overseas trip which saw him visiting some European football clubs for a benchmarking exercise; joins the Chilli Boys until the end of the season.
“He will be joined at United by Michael Loftman.”
Mapeza has already returned home although there are reports he could be back in South Africa soon with Amazulu, who put their coach on indefinite leave, eyeing Mapeza’s signature.
But, while Mapeza is back with his family, the earthquake triggered by his sudden departure is now being felt at his former employers with Chippa United’s main sponsors, the Nelson Mandela Municipality, saying the chaos at the club, was simply unacceptable.
Acting Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Municipality, Marlon Daniels, yesterday issued a stern warning that the club should change the way they do their business where it has become very fashionable for coaches to come and go.
‘‘On behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, I would like to express our serious concern about the recent resignation of Chippa United (coach) Norman Mapeza,’’ Daniels said in a statement.
‘‘Over the past two seasons, we have seen the team frequently changing coaches and senior managers. It was Dan Malesela, Eric Tinkler, Joel Masutha, Clinton Larsen, Duran Francis and now Mapeza, whom we are told decided to resign.
‘‘What worries us most is that all these changes or firing of coaches and managers have been characterised by a lack of visionary leadership, a clumsy management style and an obvious lack of understanding of the business of football.
We believe that this style of management is the reason why the team has found itself fighting relegation every season, including the current season.
‘‘As the main sponsor of the team and a partner who really has the best interest of the team at heart, we call upon the management of Chippa United to shape up.
‘‘Our City has invested a lot of ratepayers’ money into this team. This team carries the dreams and aspirations of young footballers of our city and province. If things continue like this, we might not be lucky this time to survive the relegation axe.’’
It’s the first time the sponsors have censured Chippa United, highlighting the extent of the damage which Mapeza’s sudden departure has inflicted on the club.
When Mapeza joined Chippa United in October last year, The Herald warned the relationship was unlikely to last long with this newspaper describing the team as the ‘‘world’s most chaotic football club.’’
‘‘Norman Mapeza’s management team say their client’s interests have been safeguarded after the trailblazing gaffer took a huge gamble and plunged into the lion’s den, joining the world’s most turbulent football club,’’ this newspaper said in its report.
‘‘The 47-year-old coach agreed to a three-year deal to coach South African Premiership side Chippa United, arguably the most chaotic football club in the world in terms of chopping and changing coaches, with more than 20 coaches having come and gone in the past six years.
‘‘The last coach in charge lasted just TWO games.
‘‘The longest-serving coach, Dan Maselela, was at the club for 402 days in which he took charge of 39 matches while Clinton Larsen, who was sacked this season, is the second longest-serving coach at the team after guiding them to 22 matches in 247 days.’’
One coach had even warned Mapeza to come with a packed suitcase suggesting he would need the clothes for a quick return home.
At least, 20 different coaches have been in charge of Chippa United in the past eight years.