Dull Warriors Await Real Test

HAVING progressed to the quarter-finals of the Cosafa Senior Challenge competition via the backdoor, the Zimbabwe national football team will be first to admit that they still await their first real test of the campaign.
Lesotho gave the Warriors a scare on Monday but could only eke out a two-all draw.

It’s going to be quite interesting how the Warriors cope against faster, technically alert and well-organised opposition as most regional teams have become these days.

In sharp contrast, the Warriors have been uninspiring, results aside. For an international side, they are yards slower and their passing and tactics are often in  tatters.

They beat Mauritius 3-0 in their first match, but it’s generally agreed that they faced mediocre opposition in the islanders.

Mauritius were found wanting in such basics as passing and ball control.

Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa often responds to critics by saying his only concern is a game plan that wins matches.

But the danger Chidzambwa faces is that football has evolved a lot in recent years. He might find his long ball and sluggish approach to be too outdated to win matches against serious opponents in an era where teams launch attacks with quick breaks and strategic passing from the back.

Save for a few players such Chris Semakweri, Asani Nhongo and Cuthbert Malajila, the other players hardly look international material.

Left back Zephaniah Ngodzo conceded the team did not play to expectations against Lesotho.

“What is important now is that we have qualified for the quarter finals and we will see what happens from there,” said Ngodzo.
“We aren’t that bad though. We can compete with every team from the region.”

Sports minister David Coltart in an interview said local standards have declined.

“Zimbabwe should be a powerful team in southern Africa,” Coltart said. “Drawing against Lesotho and having to rely on Mauritius is clearly not where we want to be. Clearly there is a lot of improvement to be done.

“Look at Malawi, drawing against the Ivory Coast is an outstanding result. Look at our population and the number of schools. There is no reason we can’t be way better than them. We are lagging behind teams we used to dominate.”

 

Henry Mhara

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