HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsHats off to Zim women football

Hats off to Zim women football


There is no such thing as a “self-made” man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success. — George Matthew Adams
These words, added to Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s remarks on his recent visit and women football boss Mavis Gumbo’s statement in Thursday’s edition, clearly define what has been a remarkable 16 months for Zimbabwe football and its fans.

In Zimbabwe men’s football, in this case the Warriors have been Zifa’s flagship in terms of its failures to play in major tournaments like the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations. In the continental tournament, Zimbabwe have made two appearances only.

This is probably because the leadership then was busy “organising” how to fix matches in Asia rather than concentrating on improving football.

Now we have seen a new definition, perhaps, a proper definition on organisation, which has bred success for women football in the country.

From the garbage left by the previous set-up of Wellington Nyatanga and his administration, probably the worst in the country since Independence for allowing match-fixing and during which women football grants were diverted to other purposes, women football has undergone a remarkable turnaround.

Having taken over on March 27 2010, Gumbo and her board worked silently to secure an international friendly match against South Africa last year that returned Zimbabwe to the top echelons of the game on the continent.

From there, Gumbo moved with speed to ensure the revival of provincial structures as this was the only way to a national super league.

And that done, the National League came into being in June and four rounds of matches have already been played.

While the provincial leagues were going on, the senior national team was performing wonders in the All-Africa Games qualifiers.

After getting rid of Zambia they faced Angola, pulled off a stunning draw in Luanda and finished off the business at home to qualify for the Maputo finals.

Just when we thought concentration was now on raising funds for a training camp in Germany, Cosafa came calling at the last minute with the women’s championships and Zimbabwe duly accepted to replace Reunion as the hosts.

And this was just about the right time for Blatter to arrive, singing praises along the way.

But what could have been possible without proper organisation? Without a proper, permanent and highly qualified technical team led by Rosemary Mugadza?

Gumbo has not hesitated to consult and German expatriate technical director Klaus Dieter-Pagels has not hesitated to assist.

There was never a point where there was confusion in the technical team, where somebody has to learn on the job unlike in the Warriors set-up, where the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.

It was smooth sailing all the way and that is the main ingredient for success.

Having a personal definition of what success means, and then setting goals accordingly, is the only way to achieve meaningful success.

We believe Gumbo defined the path and perhaps, she has put herself under pressure for overperformance because the world will be watching to see what she does next.

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