Opportunities could arise in the national team as the Asiagate probe nears conclusion next month. Suspended coach Norman Mapeza and his assistant Joey Antipas — both suspects in the probe — are sweating over their future with the team and it is unclear if they will be willing to return to their posts after the investigation which led to their suspension .
Mapeza and 80 players were recently suspended over the match-fixing scandal.Gumbo has a good opportunity to prove that he is the man to lead the Warriors should a new coach be required.
The Warriors take on Burundi away in an Afcon qualifier 2013 . The FC Platinum gaffer is aiming for nothing short of victory.
The feeling in football circles is that after the decimation of the national team through suspensions enforced by the Asiagate probe, this is the time to rebuild the team by injecting young blood.
But Gumbo will have none of that. He knows that this is an opportunity for him to win over the Zifa board and the fans. A loss while parading young players may not necessarily achieve that.
“This is not the time to rebuild, let’s get that straight,”says Gumbo. “This is a match that we have to win and we will go for that and I am not even thinking about a draw. We have to win this match and then thereafter we start building.”
Gumbo has made it clear he is intent on winning by recalling Warriors outcasts Esrom Nyandoro and Musa Mguni while also tempting Benjani Mwaruwari to return — a request the former captain rebuffed.
He is confident ahead of the Burundi clash.
“Look we are not taking them lightly; we know the trend in Africa is that it’s difficult to win away from home but all the same look at the rankings — they tell you what sort of team they are. I know a few of their players; they are not a bad side but a win is all we are thinking about. I am an attack-minded coach and I always think about winning; we are approaching that match with the same mentality.”
Despite so little time in camp as some players will only join camp on Sunday, Gumbo feels the players will hit their stride come Wednesday.
South African Absa Premier League-based players will have to fulfill weekend commitments as will star striker Knowledge Musona of Hoffenheim in Germany before they can join camp.
Gumbo will rely on the tried-and-tested components of the team such as Vusa Nyoni, Tinashe Nengomasha, Nyandoro and Musona.
Kaizer Chief’s Abbas Amidu is one of the younger players set to be thrust into international action by Gumbo, having played well last term but never impressing Mapeza.
With the return of England-based Onisimor Bhasera to the fold, Gumbo named a strong side under the circumstances, which has the potential to get him the result that he requires – and possibly the Warriors job.