This year the country’s resolution must be to do better than in 2013, during which we gleaned many important lessons which we should put to good use.
Candid Comment with Kevin Mapasure
Last year there was chaos in local sport; there was unrest and showdowns in cricket and rugby as well as a fiasco in football whose consequence was an embarrassing Brazil 2014 World Football Cup qualifying campaign.
The Warriors fell short — far too short if you compare with previous campaigns — as their qualification mission was doomed from the word go.
The cricket team, of course, had its moments; the Test win against Bangladesh, and memories of victory against Pakistan will linger for a long time to come. But the same team was seriously exposed when, for example, it toured the West Indies where it lost every match in all formats of the game. The team’s performances oscillated between the thrilling and the deeply depressing.
The financial quagmire at Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) did not help the situation and it was saddening to see fast bowler Kyle Jarvis quit. The home tour against Sri Lanka, which would have come hard on the heels of the successful Pakistan visit, was cancelled due to lack of funds.
The team would have built on the success against Pakistan had it engaged Sri Lanka, but it will have to wait a year between its last Test win and the next match, which makes it hard for the team to build momentum and remain competitive.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) had its share of problems which threatened the England 2015 World Cup finals dream. Selection issues caused friction between players and management, but fortunately sanity prevailed and we can dream about England 2015.
The barest minimum target for the Sables is qualification to the World Cup. The technical team should cast its net wide to bring in the best players for the task. The ZRU should ensure the team is best prepared to take on Namibia, Kenya and Madagascar. In many ways this could be our best chance since the 1991 success.
As for the cricket team, financial constraints could persist this year, but with the T-20 World Cup coming up and a home triangular ODI series with South Africa and Australia confirmed, there is a good chance for ZC to improve its coffers. On the field, the team has a chance to show that its win against Pakistan was no fluke, but its first assignment is no mean task as it takes on South Africa.
All hope is that the Pakistan Test win dispelled the myth that it’s ok for Zimbabwe to simply compete and not win against the big guns.
The Warriors owe their legion of fans for failure in 2014.
A fresh start in the current African Nations Championships (Chan) under Ian Gorowa is just what the doctor ordered. The Afcon 2015 qualifiers follow and Gorowa has targeted a place at the continental showcase.
Qualification for Afcon is crucial to the game’s development as the team can build on that for future tournaments, and maybe even attract sponsorship.