Mapeza pleased by Galatasaray reunion

FC PLATINUM and Warriors interim coach Norman Mapeza says he is really honoured to be recognised among the best players to ever wear the shirt of Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Although he spent a year at the Istanbul giants in the 1994/95 season, Mapeza left a lasting impression at Galatasary.

The former Zimbabwe international was invited to take part in last week’s Galatasary Legends match which was part of their celebrations to mark their Uefa Cup now the Europa Cup victory in 2000.

Galatasaray was celebrating 17 years since that triumph and they invited most of their club legends and current players to take part in a friendly match against the UNDP XI.

Some of the players in the Galatasaray team were Hakan Sukur, Gheorghe Hagi and Tugay Kerimogli.
The UNDP XI was led by Fenerbahce legend Alex de Souza, Didier Drogba and Igor Tudor.

“It really feels great to be remembered 20 years after having left the club. It’s a great honour for me and I appreciate that gesture,” Mapeza said.

During his time at Galatarasy, Mapeza was also the captain of the famed Dream Team, Zimbabwe’s national team under the late Reinhard Fabisch.

Mapeza says he was shocked to receive the invitation from his former club after more than two decades.
“I wasn’t expecting this invitation. I was shocked but you know that’s life. It’s great to be remembered while you are alive and I think it’s very nice,” said the former Galatasaray defender.

“This was a reunion so for me it was a great honour to be invited after so many years.

“I spoke with the officials of the club and they were really happy with what I contributed to the club so for me it’s an honour and it will always remain in my heart for the rest of my life.”

Mapeza is the second Zimbabwean to play in the Uefa Champions League and his career highlight with Galatasaray was playing in the same group with a star-studded Barcelona then under the guidance of the late legendary Dutch coach Johan Cruyff and Manchester United which had Eric Cantona, Mark Hughes and David Beckham in a long list of stars.

After having horned his skills at Wieslaw Grabowski’s Darryn T, Mapeza moved to Europe in 1993 when he joined Polish side Sokól Pniewy.

At Pniewy, Mapeza spent just a single season before he was spotted by Galatasaray.

After his single season at Galatasary, Mapeza went on to play for other Turkish clubs Ankaragücü, Altay S.K, Çanakkale Dardanelspor and Çanakkale Dardanelspor He then moved to Austria where he played for SV Ried im Innkreis in 2000. He moved back to Turkey with Malatyaspor the following season before retiring in 2003.
Mapeza then came back home where he turned out for CAPS United in the 2003/04 season before joining South African side Ajax Cape Town in 2005/06 where he finally hung his boots.—Bernard Chiketo
in MUTARE

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