President Robert Mugabe Thursday threw the gauntlet to the Warriors, challenging them to do better than the Mighty Warriors who received $120 000 after bagging the Cosafa women’s football title last Saturday.
The Mighty Warriors beat South Africa 1-0 in the final at Rufaro Stadium and were Thursday honoured with a luncheon at State House by patron President Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Later yesterday, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, who was also at the function, distributed the money with each of the 20 players and eight technical team members getting $4 000. He also contributed $4 000 from his pocket.
Dube said the President had indicated he would source computers for the 10 provinces that Zifa administers.
Before handing over the cash to the team, President Mugabe who has also sourced 100 footballs from the Reserve Bank took potshots at the under-achieving senior national team.
“And the Warriors, why are they not doing that (winning)? Yes, here and there, they can win, but why not go all the way? We have never seen that in Zimbabwe. Perhaps, they should also have been given the ‘mighty’ adjective,” he said.
While this was said in a light-hearted manner, there is no doubt that Dube, his board and coach would be under pressure to produce positive results from the next two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Liberia (home) and away to Cape Verde Islands in October and September respectively.
The Warriors have only been to the finals twice since Independence — an embarrassment in itself — despite abundant talent in the country.
Just on Sunday, 24 hours after the Mighty Warriors had lifted the regional title, the Under-23 team failed to reach the All-Africa Games after falling 2-1 on aggregate to South Africa.
“This is the money, we would want them to have together with their technical team . . . at least $4 000 per player. This is not for the purpose of training, but this is for players for what they did. It’s an expression of our joy, our hope that you will sustain this for the nation.
“We recognise you as having played a part in raising our flag and our name,” President Mugabe said.
He said they had committed themselves to fundraising for the Mighty Warriors who are leaving for Germany next week for a two-week training camp as part of their preparations for the 10th edition of the All-Africa Games that will take place in Maputo, Mozambique, in September.
“They say failure is an orphan and success has many fathers and mothers. As such we have committed ourselves to fundraising for you.
“The deputy minister here (Lazarus Dokora — Education, Sport, Arts and Culture), complained of lack of funding. Perhaps, it’s poverty, perhaps it’s just not liking the sport, perhaps it’s just lack of interest. Yes, we here have not given full support to sport especially soccer.
“Even when you don’t get full support from the government, there are other people who can assist you so that you can continue to do your best,” he said.
Such companies include BancAbc, who chipped in with a substantial amount, and yesterday the Mighty Warriors contingent was due to open accounts at the bank.