Mbwando Blasts Zifa

FORMER National team striker-cum-defender George Mbwando says the senior national soccer team will not qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations as the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) will disrupt the preparations along the way.

Mbwando (32) who plays for FC Ingolstadt said the country had players with potential to reach respectable stages in major tournaments but it seems “Zifa enjoy controversy at crucial stages of the qualifiers”.

Zimbabwe are with Namibia, Guinea and Kenya, in a group that should finish on top if they are to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

“Zifa has never changed for the better since I started playing for the under 23 national team in 1994,” Mbwando said.

“Bonuses take nearly a year to be paid or longer like in the case of the team that took part in Malaysia; there is no motivation, which is why sponsors do not want to be associated with football in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mbwando said it was every player’s dream to play for the national team, but was also disheartening to be treated like kindergarten child by the football mother body.

“We have the same problems each year.

Ironically the same people will be in charge and seem not to learn from past experiences.

That really disturbs players’ concentration during training,”

Mbwando is a member of the under 23 team which won silver at the 1995 All Africa games.

He has 23 caps for the senior national team and two scores. He was part of the team that qualified for the 2004 and 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia and Egypt.

“My team with the national team is up but I fell for the young and up- coming stars. They do not deserve such treatment, in fact no one does,” said Mbwando.

Mbwando said unless Zifa become organised, paying bonuses on time, motivating players, ensuring that players arrive on camp on time and ensuring that all is well with the coaching and technical department, Zimbabwe would be a bridge for other countries to qualify for major tournaments.

George has been playing in Germany since 1997, and said he would spend the rest of his plying days there before hanging up his boots.

“I believe there is so much talent in the country all these young player need is motivation when selected for national duty.

It is unfortunate that Zifa does not see it that way,” said Mwbando. Mbwando said with about six weeks before the qualifiers start it was not surprising to hear stories from Zifa, which will disturb the whole preparation.

“It is now an open secret, just wait and see,” he said.  “What is disheartening is that most of the things can be avoided.”

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