Zimbwbean coach makes Canadian waves

Peter Mapendere
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ZIMBABWEAN soccer coach Peter Mapendere continues to make waves in Canada after the enterprising gaffer was recently appointed to the key post of assistant technical director at Ottawa Gloucester Hornets.

The club announced the appointment on their official Facebook page recently.

“Big News . . . Welcome Peter Mapendere. It is with great pleasure that we announce our newest assistant technical director team member. He comes with over 15 years of local and international experience,” wrote the club.

“Most recently, Peter was the head coach for Ottawa’s only League 1 Ontario team since 2017. He has the highest coaching certificates which include UEFA A-Licence and Canadian National B-Licence.

“Peter has experience coaching various age groups and significant experience in guiding players and Canadian and US University Scholarships (18 players in 2018).”

Mapendere might not have made a lot of waves back home but for nearly two decades, he dedicated his life to coaching mostly young players, some of whom he has developed into internationals for their respective countries.

He also pays special tribute to former Zimbabwe and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who he cites as one of his mentors.

In his new task, Mapendere will oversee the development of young talent from Under-13 to Under-18.

He has already developed the likes of Danny Assaf, who was recently called to the Egyptian Under-20 team camp after playing for Canada at Under-15 level.

With many clubs now emphasising on developing their own talent, Mapendere has a crucial role to keep the conveyor belt running at Ottawa.

“In my new job I am in charge of the Under-13 to 18 age group and this entails development of a roadmap for the club, including development of game model.”

Part of his duties include delivering, managing, maintaining and developing a year-round programme consistent with long-term player development.

He is also supposed to plan and deliver an academy programme with the lead technical director, as well as assist in the recruitment of “qualified coaches into the programme and provide mentoring and support to coaches”.

Despite his playing career having been cut short by injury, Mapendere has remained resolute in ensuring that he plays his part as a coach.

“The lowest point in my career was when I tore my knee ligaments, both my ACL and MCL, and coming to a realisation that I was never going to play at the same level with the same intensity. . .  I was never the same after the injury.”

He considers being called to the Zimbabwe Under-20 trials and failing to make the final selection as part of the highlights of his career. Motivating players to achieve their potential is the hallmark of a good coach.

“To quote Jose Mourinho ‘coaching is taking a player where they can’t take themselves’. . .

“I also draw a lot of satisfaction from watching some of my former players become coaches after their football career.

“The most important part of my journey was also getting my UEFA A-Licence in January 2020.”

Mapendere is honoured to be considered among the elite coaches in the world, especially considering he was born in rural Masvingo.