Inside sport: Let us take advantage


EUROPEAN club football is coming to an end and this is the time for Zimbabwe to take advantage of the situation and give the Warriors more time in camp without the players worrying about their club duties.

The Zifa normalisation committee (NC) should move fast to contact the targeted players and ask them to report for camp to give them more time together in preparation for the June 7 World Cup Qualifier against Lesotho and the one that follows on June 11 against South Africa.

Getting the players into camp this week would give the team at least two weeks together which will leave no room for excuses on the part of the players should they fail to pick up at least four points from the two matches.

These opportunities are rarely found in African football and the normalisation committee will have the extra pleasure of saving a few dollars as they will not have to pay airfares for some of the players who were already on their way to Zimbabwe for their off-season break.

A win against Lesotho and a draw against South Africa will not be bad in a group in which we will still have home matches against Benin, Rwanda, and South Africa, which we hope will be played — to our advantage — at the National Sports Stadium.

In fact, if we play like we did against the Super Eagles of Nigeria and convert the chances that come our way, we might even surprise Bafana Bafana and get three points off them in their own backyard.

What we should not do is to drop points against the Likuena's or the Crocodiles of Lesotho because teams that do not beat such weak opposition do not deserve a World Cup berth or even an Afcon place.

With news coming through that the Zimbabwe players for the two matches have already been identified, it would be good too that the national coach be appointed as soon as possible before the Warriors themselves troop into camp.

Two weeks with the players would not be little for a coach who knows his football well to conjure up a system that could bring success from a team which we predict will be made up of players who already know each other well.

Unlike the likes of Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe does not have many top-notch Europe-based players apart from those who came for Afcon 2021, and the Four Nations Tournament and the few that did not come due to injury or other commitments.

What we need is to bring on board a coach who can easily put these players into their rightful positions and his style of play will grind itself on the field of play.

Reports seem to suggest that the normalisation committee do not have money to pay an expatriate coach but are in favour of a local coach which then raises the question of what exactly is delaying that appointment.

Why then, did the NC ask for foreign applicants when they knew that they wanted a local coach unless they were targeting Zimbabwean coaches who are based outside the country?

Or maybe, they were targeting foreign coaches who previously had an association with the Warriors whom they believed they could easily strike a deal with when it comes to payment.

What, however, we should be proud of the NC is that they were honest and wanted to avoid the problems that Zimbabwe got itself in after failing to pay Brazilian Valinhos and Belgian Tom Saintfiet.

Remember, Zimbabwe was barred from taking part in the 2018 World Cup for their failure to pay Saintfiet, a debt which was later on settled by Wicknel Chivayo after he was brought in as Warriors sponsor by the then Zifa president, Phillip Chiyangwa.

Whatever, the case is, the NC should realise that they have been presented with enough time to appoint a coach as well as assemble a team and it is how they are going to use the time that will be crucial to our World Cup destiny.

Surely, we are in a World Cup Qualifying group where failure will be of our own making and with proper organisation, this is a grouping where we can successfully negotiate our way through to the 2026 World Cup.

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