Independent Sports View-With Itai Dzamara
THE Warriors’ 5-0 massacre of little and hapless Swaziland has already sent some among us bonkers once again. It is amazing how many among
our soccer-loving fraternity easily get swept away by little things.
Comments in both the media domain and the general public tried to suggest that the Warriors have “matured” or have found the right formula.
Interim head coach Rahman Gumbo had suddenly found the “miracle” and some among us fell over each other to portray him as the best thing ever to happen to local soccer.
This happened before – not long back for that matter – when a certain Sunday Marimo was allowed to hold everyone to ransom refusing to have a technical advisor to assist him. Those who backed him argued that he had been the best thing to happen to local soccer after leading the Warriors to their maiden African Nations Cup final.
Captain Peter Ndlovu, deservedly given the man of the match award in Swaziland on the strength of a hat trick, should have been flattered by the praises heaped on him.
Not that I am attempting to downplay the Warriors’ good performance against little Sihlangu of Swaziland. Anywhere in the world a team deserves credit for a 5-0 victory – however achieved.
But to the extent that the euphoria over the victory should be used by Zimbabweans to mask the realities that have to be addressed urgently, it must be dismissed.
A visitor would never have understood that the Warriors, only a week before had performed woefully against Algeria at home. The Warriors lie fourth in World Cup and African Nations Cup Group 4 qualifiers with two points.
The reality is that the team, which is the pride of the nation, risks losing out on qualification in the group where most of the teams have so far shown determination to go all the way.
The pertinent issue of the Warriors’ technical department needs a quick resolution, Gumbo’s demolition of Sihlangu notwithstanding.
Sponsorship shortcomings that have been affecting the Warriors certainly won’t be washed away by a Cosafa Castle Cup quarterfinal victory over a nonentity in African soccer.
If anything, the Warriors have already proved their strength in the poor southern Africa region, having won the Cosafa trophy twice already. And now is time to focus on higher goals – reaching advanced stages at the Nations Cup as well as qualifying for the World Cup.
I asked Zifa chairman Rafiq Khan during the week about the technical department and he said it was off the agenda as of now. Khan’s reasoning was that any decision to change or tamper with the technical department would disrupt the Warriors in their forthcoming World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The team plays away to Rwanda this weekend and will face Nigeria in Harare the first weekend of September.
I have a feeling that Khan and his colleagues in the Zifa board could be succumbing to the well-orchestrated plots to discredit them and cause more confusion. The so-called vote of no confidence by the “Zifa Council” a fortnight ago was part of the plot to cause mayhem in local soccer administration and get rid of the current board.
I still hear some sections of the media as well as soccer fans trying to waste time on former Warriors coach Sunday Marimo and attempts to blame Zifa for his resignation.
“Life after Mhofu gloomy,” ran one ridiculous headline recently.
It is interesting to note how these elements, may I call them rabble rousers, are energetically fighting against the appointment of a technical advisor for the Warriors. They will definitely intensify their campaign to shower praises on Gumbo following the victory over Swaziland. And they do it in a manner that completely ignores where we are coming from and where we intend to go.
I have said it before and had Standard sports editor Lloyd Mutungamiri add his voice to it recently that Khan allows himself to be abused by individuals and sections of the media on policy matters. He easily loses authority over serious matters and at this rate sanity won’t prevail in local soccer. Any Tom, Dick and Nathaniel could go ballistic and violently oppose a decision by the Zifa board knowing fully well that it will backtrack.
It is my fear that the issue of the Warriors’ technical department could even see year-end without a solution and no prizes for guessing the chaos that would characterise the scene. No prizes either for predicting the damage it will inflict on the team’s aspirations for qualification.
We only need to refer to the manner in which Marimo left the Warriors in order to see the dangers of sitting on a time bomb like the one we have in the current Warriors’ technical department.
We should start looking beyond the aging Kaitano Tembo, Peter Ndlovu, Adam Ndlovu, George Mbwando, Harlington Shereni and Charles Yohane.
The current situation whereby the coaching department is failing to merge locally-based players and those playing outside the country also yearns for urgent attention.
There is a lot still to be done for the national team.
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